Idaho SAT Scores Drop Slightly

Aug 14, 2015

The Coeur d'Alene Charter Academy again posted the highest average SAT scores in Idaho, coming in 37 percent above the state average.
Credit Idaho Education News

Idaho SAT scores dropped slightly in April — and the decrease was most pronounced in math.

On average, students scored a 1,353 on the test, according to results released Friday by the State Department of Education. That’s 10 points down from the 2014 average of 1,363, or a 0.7 percent decrease — and well below the benchmark that denotes college readiness.

But a closer look at Friday’s news reveals that the decrease can be traced to one of the test’s three sections.

  • Math scores averaged out at 449, a 2.6 percent decrease from the 2014 average of 461.
  • Critical reading scores dropped slightly. The 461 average constitutes a 0.6 percent drop from the 2014 average of 464.
  • Writing scores increased, also slightly. The average came in at 443, up 1.1 percent from the 2014 average of 438.

Friday’s SAT scores mark the second time in a month that Idaho has received troubling news about high school math achievement. In July, the state released scores on the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium tests, or SBAC, the first-year tests aligned to Idaho Core Standards in math and English language arts. The overall scores beat projections, but math scores declined in high school; only 30 percent of 10th graders scoring proficient in math, compared to 61 percent of 10th graders who were proficient in ELA.


The SAT is generally taken by high school juniors and seniors — with Idaho’s April “SAT Day” geared toward 11th-graders. On SAT Day, the state covers the cost of the exam — and consequently, a vast majority of juniors take the test. In a news release Friday, state superintendent Sherri Ybarra’s office did not mention the SAT scores, but touted turnout; on April 15, 16,792 students across Idaho took the test.

Idaho requires all high school students to take a college-entrance exam. Most colleges require applicants to take a placement exam, as an indicator of college readiness.

In that regard, Idaho students still have considerable ground to cover.

The College Board, the nonprofit that administers the SAT, has defined 1,550 as a college-readiness yardstick: Students who hit this mark are more likely to enroll in a four-year college, more likely to succeed in their first year of college and more likely to stay in school and earn a degree.

Of the 196 schools listed in Friday’s report, only nine posted average scores of 1550 or greater.

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