Governor Patrick Announces Increase in Math SAT Scores; MA Tops Nation- Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
For Immediate Release
Monday, September 13, 2010
Contact:Heidi Guarino 781-338-3106

Governor Patrick Announces Increase in Math SAT Scores; MA Tops Nation

Reading & Writing scores hold steady; African-American students make strong gains in all three subjects; Participation and Performance on AP Exams also increase

MALDEN - Governor Deval Patrick today announced that Massachusetts public high school students made greater gains on the mathematics SAT exam than any other state over the past decade, and on the 2010 exam once again outscored all other states with high participation rates. Additionally, African-American students in Massachusetts now lead their peers nationwide.

Results released today by the College Board also show that Massachusetts' overall participation in Advanced Placement (AP) exams rose by 9.5 percent in 2010, and that the state's increase in African-American and Hispanic test takers is the highest in the nation.

"The progress we are making in math achievement is tremendous," said Governor Patrick. "The fact that we are not only scoring at the top of the nation, but that we are seeing more of our African-American and Hispanic students challenging themselves by taking AP coursework and exams is a credit to the hard work of our students and educators statewide."

"These great gains in both participation and performance show us once again that we are on the right path for education in Massachusetts," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. "I am proud of these great accomplishments by our students and their teachers."

The 2010 SAT results show that Massachusetts scored 524 in math, an increase of two points from 2009, outscoring all other states where at least 60 percent of public school students participated. Over the past 10 years the state's math score has risen 16 points, more than any other state where at least 25 percent of public school students participated in the SAT. Student results on the Critical Reading (508) and Writing (504) exams remained unchanged from 2009. Massachusetts has had strong performance over the past SAT test administrations with students setting the pace nationwide.

In Massachusetts, African-American students made strong gains in all three subjects in 2010, including an eight-point gain in Critical Reading (from 416 to 424), a nine-point gain in Mathematics (from 423 to 433), and a seven-point gain in Writing (from 411 to 418). Those gains in Math and Writing outpaced national gains, and as a result Massachusetts African-American students on average now outscore their peers nationally in Math (432 to 427) and Writing (418 to 416).

"I am really pleased to see the strong gains made by African-American students across all three subjects," said Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester. "I am particularly encouraged to see that the increase in participation and achievement in AP courses and exams was among the strongest in the nation for African-American and Hispanic students."

While African-American students made across-the-board gains, Hispanic students made gains in Mathematics (from 441 in 2009 to 445 in 2010), but saw their scores decrease in Critical Reading (from 433 to 431) and Writing (from 427 to 422).

"The SAT and AP exams provide great examples of the academic performance we know our students are to achieve," said Education Secretary Paul Reville. "Our increased focus on high expectations and on developing critical math and English skills continue to prepare our students for success."

The news follows two weeks of great accomplishments in education in Massachusetts.

Last week, Governor Patrick announced strong improvement on the statewide MCAS exams noting that the number of tenth graders who scored Proficient or Higher on the English Language Arts (ELA) and Math exams has nearly doubled since the first year the state's graduation requirement was enforced. In addition, MCAS results showed that for the first time ever, more than half of all seventh and eighth graders statewide scored Proficient or Higher in Math and the percentage of third graders reading and doing math proficiently increased by six points in ELA and five points in math.

Massachusetts also recently earned the top score in the national Race to the Top competition and secured $250 million in funding to help implement the next generation of education reform in Massachusetts. The funding will be utilized to build a statewide data system to better track student performance, inform instructional practices and provide a new measure of teacher and principal effectiveness as well as to build a more professional teacher development and support system.

Additionally, Governor Patrick allocated $204 million from the federal Education Jobs Fund to school districts across the Commonwealth, bringing state support for public schools to its highest level in history. A combination of state and federal dollars totaling $4.07 billion will ensure all school districts receive more state aid—at least $25 per student—than they did last year.

Overall, 75 percent of Massachusetts public school students in the class of 2010 participated in the SAT, ranking the state second in participation behind only Maine, where the SAT is a statewide requirement for all students. This year, 45,670 public school students in Massachusetts participated, an increase of 3.2 percent from the class of 2009.

Nationwide, public school students averaged one-point gains in all three subjects on the 2010 SAT: from 497 to 498 in Critical Reading; from 510 to 511 in Mathematics; and from 487 to 488 in Writing.

Other SAT results for Massachusetts public school students showed:

  • Asian students made one-point gains in Critical Reading (from 519 to 520), Mathematics (from 584 to 585) and Writing (from 521 to 522);
  • White students increased by one point in Mathematics (from 538 to 539), and remained the same in Critical Reading (526) and Writing (522);
  • Male students increased by two points in Critical Reading (from 510 to 512), five points in Math (from 538 to 543), and one point in Writing (from 496 to 497);
  • Female students increased by one point in Math (from 507 to 508), but declined by one point in Critical Reading (from 506 to 505) and Writing (from 511 to 510).

In Massachusetts, overall participation in AP exams by public school students rose by 9.5 percent in 2010, and the number of exams that received scores of 3, 4, or 5 increased by 7.2 percent since last year. African-American and Hispanic students made large gains in participation (17.8 percent and 18.2 percent increases, respectively) and in the number scoring 3 or higher (17.7 percent and 20.7 percent increases, respectively).

Among the schools that made the most impressive AP gains were many of the public high schools participating in the Mass Math + Science Initiative (MMSI). Last week, state officials announced that the first 21 schools in the program nearly doubled the number of passing scores in AP math, science and English, while narrowing achievement gaps in race, ethnicity and gender. Combined, these schools posted 2,044 math, science or English AP scores of 3 or higher, significantly outpacing state and national gains. Qualifying scores among African-American and Hispanic students more than doubled (104%) over two years in these schools, compared to increases of 30% statewide and 28% nationally during the same period.

For additional information on the state's performance on the 2010 SAT exams, visit the College Board's website at

Last Updated: September 13, 2010

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