SAT Math Scores Peak; Verbal Remains Flat

SAT math scores continue to rise, and verbal scores are flat for a fourth consecutive year, according to new data released by the College Board. The report includes data on how American students scored on the new essay portion of the college-entrance exam.

Students' SAT math scores averaged 520 out of a possible 800. Verbal scores were 508. The gap between the scores of rich and poor — as well as black and white — students persists. That gap has in fact widened in the past decade, with whites outscoring blacks this year by 99 points in verbal, 105 points in math. Suburban students scored higher than urban and rural students.

On the SAT's new 800-point writing section, the average score was 516. Analysts say a trend cannot be extrapolated from the results, as the data stem from the first time the test was given.

But experts say that in the past 10 years, there has been a sizeable drop in the percentage of high school students enrolled in English composition.

Among states where more than half of high school graduates took the SAT, Washington, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont had the highest overall average scores. Georgia and South Carolina tied for the lowest scores.

In Depth

More students took the SAT in 2005 than in any other year. The makeup continues to evolve:

  • A record 1,475,623 students took the test in 2005.
  • 53 percent of those taking the SAT in 2005 were female, with 47 percent male.
  • 38 percent of SAT takers in the class of 2005 were minorities.
  • High-school GPAs range from a high of 3.39 for Asian-American students to 2.99 for African-American students.

The College Board

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