Patrick-Murray Administration Announces 2012 SAT Results Showing 12-Point Gain in Math over the Past Decade- Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
For Immediate Release
Monday, September 24, 2012
Contact:JC Considine 781-338-3112

Patrick-Murray Administration Announces 2012 SAT Results Showing 12-Point Gain in Math over the Past Decade

MALDEN - The Patrick-Murray Administration and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education today announced the results of the 2012 SAT, showing that Massachusetts public high school students have made a 12-point gain in Math over the past decade and that overall student participation in the test has increased.

According to this year's results, Massachusetts students had an average score of 523 in Math, up from 521 last year and 511 in 2002. Eighty-four (84) percent of Massachusetts public school students in the class of 2012 took the SAT in high school. Among the 17 states where at least 60 percent of students participated in the SAT, Massachusetts students had the top score in Math.

"I commend our students and teachers for continuing to outperform the nation on this important college entrance exam," said Governor Deval Patrick. "Working together, we will continue our efforts to give our students and teachers the tools they need to succeed in the classroom and beyond. All students deserve the opportunity to reach their full potential."

"Today's results highlight significant improvements by Massachusetts students taking the SATs," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. "This is a noteworthy accomplishment especially as we continue to encourage more students to pursue academic studies and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math as we build a talented pipeline of students prepared to compete in the 21st century economy."

In other subjects, Massachusetts public high school students in the class of 2012 had an average score of 506 in Critical Reading, one point higher than last year (505) and in 2002 (also 505). Only Vermont (519; 64% participation), New Hampshire (512; 71%), and Virginia (508; 68%) outperformed Massachusetts in this year in Critical Reading. In Writing, Massachusetts students scored the same as last year (500), and trailed only Vermont (504) and Connecticut (502; 83%) in 2012.

"I congratulate our high school students for their strong overall performance on the SAT and for making tremendous gains in math over the past decade," said Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester. "We still have work to do to ensure that all students are ready for success beyond high school. The new Massachusetts curriculum frameworks, which schools are starting to implement this year, will build on our record of excellence, provide students and educators with greater clarity, focus, and rigor, and incorporate college and career readiness standards to support learning at the next level."

"I am thrilled by our students' continued success on this benchmark exam," said Education Secretary Paul Reville. "More of our students are demonstrating their desire to pursue higher education and it remains our responsibility to provide each of them with educational opportunities that will inspire our students and reward their dedication."

The Patrick-Murray Administration is hard at work on a number of fronts to ensure all students are prepared for success in college and career and that they have the skills they need to fill open jobs in Massachusetts and in our increasingly global economy. This summer, Governor Deval Patrick began implementing a plan to unify the state's fifteen community colleges into a strengthened statewide system responsive to both local and statewide employer needs. This strengthened system, in coordination with vocational schools, career centers, businesses, and other public higher education institutions will ensure that students can get the skills they need for the jobs that are available now while providing students with a strong academic foundation so that they have the ability to meet emerging workforce needs as the economy continues to change.

The Governor's Gateway Cities Education Agenda also focuses attention on the importance of early career education as a way to better connect what students are learning in the classroom to meaningful employment beyond school. Through these initiatives and others, the Administration is setting new expectations for college and career readiness that will align the Commonwealth's educational system with those of competitor nations around the world.

In June 2012, a task force of the state's leading educators, employers, and academic labor experts issued a report that included a set of recommendations to ensure that every student graduates from high school ready to pursue the next steps on the path to a successful career or post-secondary education. Those recommendations included the following:

  • Incorporate Career Readiness into Massachusetts's Recommended Course of Study
  • Strengthen School, Employer, Higher Education, and Community Partnerships
  • Improve the Utilization of School Counselors in Deployment of Career Readiness Education
  • Incentivize Schools to Create and Demonstrate Comprehensive Career Readiness Strategies
  • Promote the Importance of College and Career Readiness for All Students
  • Explicitly Identify Personnel Responsible for Effectively Executing the Task Force Recommendations

Commissioner Chester will report proposed next steps to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education later this fall.

Other SAT results for Massachusetts public school students showed:

  • Massachusetts participation in the SAT has steadily increased over the past decade. Eighty-four (84) percent of the class of 2012 participated in the SAT, up from 75 percent in 2002.
  • Participation for Asian students (+3.7%) and Hispanic students (+1.2%) increased since last year, while the number of African American SAT takers in Massachusetts public high schools declined slightly (-1.0%).
  • Compared to 2011, Hispanic public school students in Massachusetts saw improved results on all three subjects tested, as scores increased in Critical reading (from 432 to 433), Math (444 to 449), and in Writing (from 424 to 425). Scores for African American students also increased in all three sections, increasing by two points in Critical Reading since last year (from 417 to 419), by six points in Math (from 426 to 432), and by four points in Writing (from 409 to 413). For Asian students, scores increased in Critical Reading (from 512 to 516), in Math (from 579 to 583), and in Writing (from 514 to 519). Scores for white students declined by one point in Critical Reading (from 525 to 524), increased by two points in Math (from 537 to 539), and declined by one point in Writing (from 519 to 518).
  • A greater percentage of Massachusetts public school students who are taking the SAT are using a fee waiver. Last year, 21 percent of SAT takers used a fee waiver, compared to 22 percent in 2012.

For additional information on the state's performance on the 2012 SAT exams, visit the College Board's website at

Last Updated: September 24, 2012

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