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For Immediate Release
Tuesday, August 31, 1999
Contact:Jonathan Palumbo

Massachusetts Education Commissioner Releases 1999 SAT and Advanced Placement Scores

Malden - Massachusetts Commissioner of Education David P. Driscoll today released the results of the 1999 SAT exams which show that Massachusetts is up 6 points over 1998, while the national rate declined 1 point during the same period.

The Massachusetts SAT scores show a six-point increase in combined math and verbal scores, from 508 in 1998 to 511 in 1999 in each subject. Nationally, the 1999 overall verbal and math scores declined by one point from 1998 -- flat at 505 in verbal and down one point in math from 512 to 511.

Massachusetts is third in the country for participation in the SAT. The MA rate of participation is 78%, nearly double the national rate. Only Connecticut and New Jersey are higher at 80%. The national rate is 43%. Twenty-six percent of MA graduates took at least one test on the SAT II, more than 3 times the national rate of 8%.

Of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, only eight increased as much or more than Massachusetts (Delaware plus 6 points, D.C. plus 8 points, Illinois plus 9 points, Nevada plus 6 points, North Dakota plus 10 points, Rhode Island plus 7 points, South Dakota plus 8 points, and Vermont plus 8 points). None of these has a participation rate as high as MA (Delaware 67 % participation rate, D.C. 77 %, Illinois 12%, Nevada 34%, North Dakota 5%, Rhode Island 70%, South Dakota 4%, Vermont 70%), and therefore, the MA 6 point increase is certainly noteworthy.

For Massachusetts boys, the average verbal score is 515, up 13 points from 1994, and up 2 points from 1998. MA boys' average math score is 530, up 4 points from 1998, and a ten-year high. The average verbal score for Massachusetts girls is 507, up 3 points from 1998, and their average math score is 493, a ten-year high.

Fifty-nine students in Massachusetts, 45 boys and 14 girls, scored a perfect 1,600 on the SAT.

Commissioner Driscoll said, "I am very pleased that the SAT scores are up, and that we are maintaining an extremely high participation rate. I don't know why the scores are up, but I do know that the SAT is a leading educational indicator, and that a six-point increase is statistically significant. Whether this is a one-time gain or a more fundamental trend, we'll have to wait and see."

On the Advanced Placement tests, MA graduates are scoring higher and outperforming their national peers. AP grades are reported at five levels, with Level 5 the highest. In Massachusetts, 71.4% of graduates scored in the top three levels, nearly 8 points higher than the national average of 63.5%. Further, 19.6% of Massachusetts students had scores in the highest Level 5, compared to 13.9% nationwide.

In 1999, nearly 13% more MA graduates took one or more AP tests than they did in 1998, and nearly 90% of all MA public schools had students who took the 1999 AP Tests, compared to 60% nationally.

" I am particularly pleased that more Massachusetts students are taking AP exams, and that they are performing at higher levels," Driscoll continued. "This shows that students and their parents and teachers are focused on achievement."

Last Updated: August 31, 1999
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