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SAT scores: Only 43% of high school seniors are college-ready

September 24, 2012|By Michael Muskal
  • Students prepare for class at John C. Fremont High School in Los Angeles.
Students prepare for class at John C. Fremont High School in Los Angeles. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times…)

Just slightly more than four of every 10 high school students taking the national SAT exams meet the standard indicating that they are prepared for their first year in college, the College Board announced Monday.

In the latest findings from the College Board, which administers the exam, just 43% of the class of 2012 met the benchmark scores indicating that they could achieve a B-minus average in the first year of college. The SAT is the bane of high school students and a key barometer for college officials contemplating admissions.

The number is the same as in 2011, but the College Board warned that the figure remains low.

"When less than half of kids who want to go to college are prepared to do so, that system is failing," College Board President Gaston Caperton said in a statement accompanying the release of the data. "We must make education a national priority and deliver rigor to more students."

The SATs have three parts -- mathematics, critical reading and writing -- and are graded with a maximum score of 800 for each part. Three hundred and sixty of the 1.66 million who took the tests in 2012 scored a perfect 2,400.

According to the College Board's analysis, the national averages in critical reading and writing fell one point each, to 496 and 488, respectively, while mathematics scores remained constant at 514, when all schools' scores were compared with those of the previous year.

Scores of public school students were slightly lower than the national average for all schools: 491 for critical reading, 505 for math and 481 for writing.

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