West Virginia students scored 510 in math, 519 in critical reading and 515 in writing, compared to national averages of 518 in math, 503 in critical reading and 497 in writing. Students who graduated from high school in the spring were the first to take The College Board’s new Scholastic Aptitude Test, which featured a writing section for the first time. Critical reading replaces the verbal section.
"We're obviously proud of our students and teachers," said state Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. "We have been focusing a great deal on reading and math. When you look at these results, they indicate we are on the right path, although I remain concerned about our math scores. That’s one reason why we are increasing the rigor of math instruction through tougher content standards and objectives and research-based professional development.”
Overall, the number of West Virginia students taking the SAT at least once increased for the third straight year from 3,480 in 2005 to 3,508 in 2006. Most college-bound students in West Virginia, about 65 percent, opt to take the ACT instead of the SAT.
The SAT exam is the most popular college entrance exam for private schools and those on the East and West coasts. Most public schools and those in the South and Midwest prefer the ACT exam. Both are accepted for consideration for the PROMISE Scholarship.
About 77 percent of West Virginia’s 2006 test takers said that they took four or more years of math, compared to 73 percent in 2002. About 88 percent also said they took four or more years of English, compared to 85 percent in 2002. Students entering grade nine this fall must take four math credits with at least two of the four credits being algebra I and above.
West Virginia also saw the number of students taking Advanced Placement Exams increase by 13.2 percent, compared to 9.7 percent nationally.
Encouraging more students to enroll in Advanced Placement courses is just one step the West Virginia Department of Education is taking to increase rigor in the 21st century. As part of the system-wide implementation of 21st century learning, the Department also has aligned its Content Standards and Objectives with 21st century skills, including critical thinking, problem solving, communication skills, global awareness and business literacy.
For more information on SAT results, contact the West Virginia Department of Education at (304) 558-2699.