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SAT scores up, but fewer students take test

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By Mackenzie Mays

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — SAT scores in West Virginia are better than last year, but not as many students are actually taking the test.

While students scored higher across the board in 2014 than students the year prior — with the state average better than the national average in all subjects — the number of test-takers decreased by 7 percent over the past year, according to the state Department of Education.

About 2,160 public school students took the SAT this year — down by more than 150 students since 2013.

Students increased the average reading score by six points, resulting in a score of 515, compared to the national reading score of 492.

West Virginia students also increased their math score by six points and their writing score by three points. The state’s average math score was 503, compared to the national average of 501. The average score in the state for the written exam on the SAT was 497, compared to the national average of 478.

Those scores are out of 800 possible points on each section on the test.

The results mean more than 42 percent of West Virginia students who took the SAT met college and career readiness benchmarks. Nationwide, 39 percent of students met those benchmarks.

Nationally, SAT scores stayed about the same, but the number of test-takers continued to increase.

“Improvement on the SAT is vital as we move forward on our quest to also improve graduation, attendance and dropout rates,” West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Michael Martirano said in a statement.

“I am proud of our students and educators, and I believe that as our teachers continue to implement the West Virginia Next Generation Content Standards and Objectives, all students will graduate from high school prepared for success in a career or in college.”

Most students in West Virginia take the ACT instead of the SAT.

SAT and Advanced Placement test scores were released nationally Tuesday by the College Board.

About 6,800 students in West Virginia took AP exams last May — an increase of more than 7 percent since last year.

Less than 7 percent of juniors and seniors who took the exam in West Virginia earned a score of 3, 4 or 5, which allows students to earn college credit while still in high school.

Nationally, the numbers for the same age group are more than 13 percent.

About 4,800 tests, though, were successfully taken to earn college credit. Many students take multiple AP tests each year.