Idaho high school juniors who took the SAT last spring scored nearly the same compared to those who took the college entrance exam the year before. The College Board, the company that administers the SAT, says 500 is the benchmark which indicates students are ready for college. The 2013 juniors scored 452 in reading, 452 in math and 446 in writing. The 2012 group got 448 in reading, 454 in math and 447 in writing.
Idaho’s 2012 graduating seniors who had taken the SAT sometime during high school scored well above 500 in all three categories. But Idaho’s Department of Education says these numbers can’t be compared. In 2012 the state started paying for all high school juniors to take the SAT. Much of the reason those 2012 seniors did so well is that only about 20 percent of graduates had taken the SAT. Low participation usually creates higher scores. Or as the College Board explains it:
"In some states, a very small percentage of the college-bound seniors take the SAT. Typically, these students have strong academic backgrounds and are applicants to the nation’s most selective colleges and scholarship programs. Therefore, it is expected that the SAT critical reading, mathematics and writing averages reported for these states will be higher than the national average. In states where a greater proportion of students with a wide range of academic backgrounds take the SAT, the scores are closer to, or below, the national average."
Later this month the College Board will release its national 2013 SAT results. That will include the first group of Idaho juniors to take the test on the state’s dime and any other recent graduates who paid for it themselves sometime during high school.
Copyright 2013 Boise State Public Radio