Student Achievement Results on SAT and Advanced Placement Improving

October 07, 2014

CHARLESTON, W.Va. West Virginia public school students showed across the board improvement on the 2014 Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) according to the College Board’s recently released Annual Student Achievement Report. In addition, state students are outperforming their peers from other states on the SAT in reading, writing and math.

The Annual Student Achievement Report showed that 2,164 public school students took the SAT.  The number reflects a seven percent decrease in the number of test takers from the previous year. The SAT is a globally recognized college admission test that lets students show colleges what they know and how well they can apply that knowledge. It tests students’ knowledge of reading, writing and math.

“Improvement on the SAT is vital as we move forward on our quest to also improve graduation, attendance and dropout rates,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Michael Martirano. “I am proud of our students and educators and I believe that as our teachers continue to implement the West Virginia Next Generation Content Standards and Objectives, all students will graduate from high school prepared for success in a career or in college.”

In 2014, West Virginia students increased their reading score on the SAT by six points resulting in a score of 515. That score allows state students to boast a better performance than the national reading score of 492. Public school students also scored three points higher this year on the writing portion of the exam with a score of 497. National public school students only scored 478. West Virginia students received a 503 math score compared to last year’s score of 497. The national score on math was only 501.  

More than 42 percent of public school students in West Virginia who took the SAT met the College and Career Readiness Benchmark. Among all U.S. public school test-takers, 39 percent met the benchmark.  The need to improve college and career readiness remains critical. The College Board developed the SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmark to help colleges and secondary school administrators, educators and policymakers identify students who are likely to be ready to take college-entry, credit-bearing courses in college and do not need remediation. The SAT Benchmark score of 1550 is associated with a 65 percent probability of obtaining a first-year college GPA of B- or higher.

The College Board also released Advanced Placement (AP) scores. According to the report, 6,802 West Virginia public school students took the exam last May. The number of test takers increased by more than seven percent from the previous year. In addition, 11,314 AP exams were taken by public school students reflecting an eight percent increase from the previous year. Of the more than 11 thousand tests taken, the report noted that 4,798 were scored at a three, four or five which is accepted by most colleges for credit and/or advanced placement. That number reflects a more than eight percent improvement on test scores from 2013. However, less than seven percent of juniors and seniors who took the exam earned a score of three, four or five.  Nationally, more than 13 percent of 11th and 12th graders earned a three or higher on an AP exam. This rate remains a point of critical concern as the state continues to work to increase AP participation and performance.

“As an AP partner, our agency looks forward to working with Dr. Martirano to move the Advanced Placement program forward in our state,” said Dr. Dixie Billheimer, CEO of the West Virginia Center for Professional Development (WVCPD). This state agency provides College Board certified professional development to AP teachers.

Martirano is working with Billheimer and other partners including the West Virginia Board of Education, the Office of Education and the Arts, the Higher Education Policy Commission and the College Board to renew and increase the state’s commitment to a series of goals that strengthen student performance in AP.

The SAT exam is the most popular college entrance exam for private schools and those on the East and West Coasts. Most college-bound students in the South and Midwest, including West Virginia, opt to take the ACT instead of the SAT. Both exams are accepted for consideration for the PROMISE Scholarship, West Virginia’s merit-based scholarship. The College Board oversees the SAT and the AP program.

For more information, please contact the West Virginia Department of Education Communication Office at (304) 558-2699 or the West Virginia Center for Professional Development at 304-558-0539.

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