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Crystal Greene, 503-947-5650

September 24, 2012

The Pathway to College: SAT Results Highlight Importance of Rigor

Oregon students continue to outperform nation; more students participate in college-prep

(Salem, Ore.) – Deputy Superintendent Rob Saxton today announced the performance of Oregon’s 2012 graduates on the SAT college entrance exam. SAT results show that Oregon students continue to perform well above the national average, and last years’ graduates performed slightly better on the test overall with increases in both reading and math scores. Writing results held steady. Fifty-one percent of Oregon 2012 public school graduates took the SAT, a total of 15,858 and up slightly from last year. Increasing numbers of students of color continue to take the SAT, and last year saw the most diverse group of graduates in state history participating in the test.

“Today’s results are promising,” said Deputy Superintendent Rob Saxton. “Our students continue to outperform the nation on the SAT college entrance exam, and last year’s graduates made gains in both reading and math. More of our students are taking advanced coursework and graduating from high school with college credits in hand. We need to build on this momentum and continue to increase both participation and performance if we are to prepare our students for higher education and meet our state’s 40-40-20 goal.”

Results at a Glance
  • Oregon public school grads received a mean critical reading score of 518, up two points from last year. The national average was 491.
  • Oregon public school grads received a mean math score of 521, up one point from last year. The national average was 505.
  • Oregon public school grads received a mean writing score of 494, the same as last year. The national average was 481.

SAT results highlight the critical role of rigorous courses in preparing students for college-level work. Oregon students who took a strong core curriculum (4 or more years of English and 3 or more years of math, science, and social science) performed significantly better on the SAT. And students who took advanced placement, honors, or other accelerated courses had even stronger results. This past year, Oregon saw an increase in the number of graduates who took at least one Advanced Placement (AP) course and also so saw an increase in the number of graduates receiving a 3 or higher on the AP test, the score generally associated with receiving college credit. These results indicate that more Oregon students are graduating high school with the skills needed for college success.

“Having more students take pre-college preparatory courses in high school, such as Advanced Placement, is the best way for students to ensure greater success once they go to college,” said Melody Rose, Vice Chancellor for Academic Strategies with the Oregon University System. “It is a very positive trend that more students are engaged in college prep work, doing better on their SATs, and are better prepared for the rigor of their college-level studies.”

While doing well on the SAT can help a student get into college, the journey to higher education starts much earlier. College preparedness requires a focus on quality, rigorous instruction from the early grades through high school. The College Board, which provides the SAT, also offers a range of resources and programs to help educators in building college-readiness with their students. ReadiStep helps 8th and 9th graders identify the skills they need to be college ready. The PSAT, which Oregon offers free of charge to all sophomores, provides an early indication of how students will perform on the SAT and highlights areas of student strength and weakness in preparing for college-level work. Along with the PSAT, schools have access to My College QuickStart, an online career/college interest inventory, and AP Potential which identifies which specific Advanced Placement courses students show promise in. Teachers can use this information to encourage students to enroll in advanced coursework and earn credits toward college.

For more information on Oregon or national SAT results, go to: www.collegeboard.org/SATPress.

Rob Saxton, Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction
Crystal Greene, ODE Communications , (503) 947-5650

Oregon Department of Education News Releases contain information that was originally released to the press as an official release.  Refer to each News Release for the details.

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