For Immediate Release - September 26, 2013

Massachusetts Students among Highest Performing in the Nation on 2013 SAT

Student participation and performance on AP Exams on the rise

MALDEN – The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education today announced the results of the 2013 SAT, showing that Massachusetts public high school students are among the top performing students in the nation.

According to results released by the College Board, Massachusetts public high school students had an average score of 506 in Critical Reading, 521 in Mathematics, and 500 in Writing in 2013. In addition, student participation and performance increased since last year on Advanced Placement (AP) exams. In 2013, the number of AP test takers increased by 9 percent from a year ago, and the number of exams that received scores of 3, 4, or 5 increased by 8 percent.

"I applaud our hard working students and teachers for once again setting the standard in student achievement for the rest of the nation," said Governor Deval Patrick. "In Massachusetts we know that investing time, money and new ideas in education works, and is probably the wisest investment state government can make." 

"Massachusetts is among the top performing states in America, yet we refuse to rest on our laurels, that is what sets us apart," said Education Secretary Matthew Malone. "This type of success wouldn't be possible without dedicated teachers who go above and beyond for their students. I tip my hat to them."

Despite strong overall performance, though, the average SAT scores for Massachusetts public high school students are flat over the past five years in Critical Reading (508 in 2008-09, compared to 506 in 2012-13) and Mathematics (521 in 2008-09 and 2012-13).

"Our SAT results are strong compared to the nation and I am encouraged to see more minority students participating on the SAT and AP exams," said Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester. "But in light of our flat performance over the past five years, it is essential that we raise the profile of our key reforms that will ensure every high school student experiences a rigorous course of study to prepare her or him for success beyond high school."

In 2010, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to adopt the new Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks in English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics, which incorporate the Common Core State Standards. The state is helping schools with the implementation of the new standards by providing support in developing and aligning their curriculum. With the help of educators from across the state, the Department is developing more than 100 pre-K to grade 12 model curriculum units that promote effective instruction to improve student learning. The Department is also developing online tools for educators to create standards-based curriculum maps, curriculum units and lesson plans, and the ability to build and deliver interim and formative assessments.

Massachusetts is also a member of a 20-state consortium that is building a next-generation assessment system, called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), to provide a better signal of students' readiness for college and careers.

Other SAT results for Massachusetts showed:

  • Seventy-nine (79) percent of Massachusetts public high school students in the class of 2013 took the SAT in high school. Among states where at least 60 percent of students participated, Massachusetts students tied for the top score in Mathematics (521).
  • The number of SAT taking seniors has increased over the past five years, from 44,504 in 2008-09 to 49,829 in 2012-13.
  • Participation of Asian students (+6.6 percent), African American/black students (+4.6 percent), and Hispanic students (+3.6 percent) in the SAT all increased between 2012 and 2013.
  • Since last year, scores in Critical Reading increased for Asian students (from 516 to 521), African American/black students (from 419 to 421), and white students (from 524 to 525), but declined for Hispanic students (from 433 to 432).
  • In Mathematics, scores increased for Asian students (from 583 to 585) and African American/black students (from 432 to 433) between 2012 and 2013, but declined for Hispanic students (from 449 to 448) and white students (from 539 to 537).
  • In Writing since last year, scores increased for African American/black students (from 413 to 415), Hispanic students (from 425 to 426), and white students (from 518 to 519), but declined for Asian students (from 519 to 518).
  • On the AP exams, African American/black and Hispanic students continue to make large gains in participation (16 percent and 23 percent increases, respectively, in the number of test takers since 2012) and performance (15 percent increases in the number of students scoring 3, 4, or 5 since 2012).

For additional information on the state's performance on the 2013 SAT exams, visit the College Board's website at http://www.collegeboard.org.

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