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SAT Scores of Class of 2013 Unchanged From Year Earlier

SAT Testing
Average scores on the SAT this year were 514 for math, 496 for critical reading and 488 for writing, matching last year’s results, according to a report from the New York-based College Board, which administers the exam. Photographer: John Nordell/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images

The high school class of 2013 showed no improvement in SAT scores compared with the previous class, prompting the college entrance exam’s administrator to deem the results a “call to action.”

Fewer than half of the test takers, 43 percent, were academically prepared for college-level work, the New York-based College Board, which owns the SAT, said today in a report. That figure has changed little in five years, the group said. Average scores were 514 for math, 496 for critical reading and 488 for writing, matching last year’s results.

The SAT scores have declined or stagnated for years, from 2005 highs of 520 in math and 508 in reading. The average writing score has decreased almost every year since that section debuted in 2006 at 497. The exam, used by most U.S. colleges in determining admission, is being revamped and a new version will be announced in January, College Board President David Coleman said on a conference call with reporters.

“We must dramatically increase the number of students in K-12 who are prepared for college and careers,” Coleman said in a statement. “Only by transforming the daily work that students do can we achieve excellence and equity.”

About 30 percent of test takers were African American, American Indian or Hispanic, up from 27 percent five years ago, according to the nonprofit College Board, whose members include universities. A total of 1.66 million students took the exam, a drop of about 4,400 from a year earlier.

More students in the class of 2013 took the ACT, a rival test owned by ACT Inc., based in Iowa City. ACT reported 1.8 million test takers, an 8 percent increase from the previous year, according to an August report.

Last year, the number of students taking the SAT was neck in neck with those taking the ACT, according to the companies.

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