Washington students excel at SAT compared to nation

Washington students performed higher on the SAT than the national average and had increased participation, according to results released today by the College Board.

In a release from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the average scores for public school students were 536 in evidence-based reading and writing (ERW), and 531 in math. (Scores range from 200 to 800 on each exam.)

Nationally, averages were 533 for ERW and 527 for math.

About five out of every eight public school students in the Class of 2017 took the SAT as they prepared for higher eductation, according to the report.

This is a 1.0 percent increase from 2016 participation rates.

They say that because a new SAT was given starting in January 2016, the averages cannot easily be compared to previous years.

“Washington students typically score above the national average on SATs,” said Chris Reykdal, Superintendent of Public Instruction. “While testing is only one measure of student success, the fact that more students are willing to take the exams is a testament to the quality of teaching we have statewide.”

Reykdal said that despite statewide success, verage scores by some groups lagged behind others.

“The gaps in performance concern me,” he said. “They persist across most everything we measure. We made closing those gaps one of the central pieces of our Every Student Succeeds Act plan, which we released earlier this month. The plan will help schools identify and close those gaps.”

Results for student groups are as follows:


All 40,379 1067 536 531
American Ind/Alaska Native 399 977 490 488
Asian 4,229 1114 547 567
Black/African Amer 2,141 928 468 460
Hispanic/Latino 6,903 968 486 481
Native Hawaiian/Other Pac Islander 392 924 460 464
White 21,736 1116 563 553
Two or more races 2,479 1101 555 546
No response 2,100 943 475 468


The College Board determined benchmark SAT scores. Students achieving at least the benchmark scores have a 75 percent chance of earning at least a “C” grade in a first semester, credit-bearing college course. For ERW, the benchmark is 480; for math, it is 530. About 72 percent of Washington students in the Class of 2017 met the benchmark in ERW, and about 52 percent met the benchmark in math.

Students from low-income households can take the exams for free through the College Board’s fee waiver program. In 2017, about one in six students in the Class of 2017 (16.6 percent) used the waiver. For those students, the average ERW score was 501 and the average math score was 500.

Participation increased in other tests given by the College Board. PSAT and related exams increased by 1.0 percent (91,930 total students) compared to 2016. And participation in Advanced Placement (AP) exams increased 5.7 percent (49,863 students).

Students who do not pass state tests can use qualifying scores on the SAT or AP exams to meet the assessment requirement for graduation.


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