As More Connecticut Students Take SAT, Scores Remain Steady
State Has Fourth-Highest Participation In U.S.
By KATHLEEN MEGAN
September 14, 2011
The percentage of Connecticut students taking the SAT and their diversity continued to climb with the Class of 2011, while test scores remained steady.
Eighty-seven percent of seniors who graduated from high schools in the state in 2011 took the test, compared to 84 percent last year; 28 percent of that group were minority students, compared to 27 percent in 2010.
Scores remained steady with reading and math at 509 and 513 respectively — the same average scores as a year earlier. The writing scores for the Class of 2011 were up by a single point compared to the Class of 2010: from 512 to 513.
The scores for the Class of 2011 are higher than the national averages for reading and writing, but a point less than the math average.
The national averages were 497 for critical reading, 514 for math and 489 for writing.
"The scores relative to the high percentage of students taking the test are pretty good," said Barbara Beaudin, an associate commissioner for the state Department of Education.
Kathleen Fineout Steinberg, spokesman for the College Board, said that normally scores decline as the size of the pool of students taking them increases, which is what has been happening nationally.
"Connecticut has a nice story to tell," Steinberg said. "For a state with a high percentage rate of participation, the scores are strong."
Steinberg said the increases in participation and in diversity show that Connecticut "is doing a real good job" reaching out to students and "creating a college-going culture."
Acting Education Commissioner George A. Coleman said that "more Connecticut students are getting the message that post-secondary study — including college and occupational education — is vital to economic success."
Coleman said the department has been providing priority districts with resources to help students who might not otherwise be able to afford to take the test.
Connecticut has the fourth-highest participation rate in the country. Beaudin said that Maine is first with 93 percent, but she said Maine has made taking the SAT a graduation requirement. The only other states with higher percentage rates than Connecticut are Massachusetts and New York, both with 89 percent participating.
Beaudin noted that the scores do continue to reflect the achievement gap that is so evident on other tests, such as the Connecticut Mastery Test: Students from the wealthier suburbs do markedly better than those from poorer districts.
The state has yet to do a district-by-district analysis of the scores, but it's clear from the raw figures that student averages in the suburbs are about 200 points higher than the averages for inner-city students.
The SAT scores reflect the sharp achievement gap between urban and suburban high schools. For example, with a perfect score being 800, Glastonbury students averaged 559 in reading and 580 in math. At Avon High School, the scores were 568 for reading and 591 for math; at Hall High School in West Hartford, 555 for reading and 559 for math.
By comparison, at Bulkeley High School in Hartford students averaged 384 for reading and 371 for math; at Weaver High School in Hartford, average scores were 371 for reading and 363 for math.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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