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SAT report indicates that many students are unprepared for college work


Friday, September 27, 2013

The SAT is one of the most widely used college admissions exams in the U.S. Millions of students take this test every year as part of the college preparation process; but according to recent data from the College Board, administrator of the SAT, far too many students are ill-equipped for the rigors of higher education and the workforce.

Widespread disappointment
Researchers at the College Board assessed the performance of students in the class of 2013 who took the SAT, and discovered that achievement levels remained largely unchanged from previous years' data. Of the students who took the SAT in the most recent testing period, only 43 percent were deemed adequately prepared for college-level work and the demands of today's employers. This statistic differed by just 1 percentage point since 2009.

"While some might see stagnant scores as no news, we at the College Board consider it a call to action," said David Coleman, president of the College Board. "We must dramatically increase the number of students in K–12 who are prepared for college and careers. Only by transforming the daily work that students do can we achieve excellence and equity."

One of the most urgent challenges facing educators across the country is improving SAT performance among underrepresented populations, such as students from ethnic minorities and low-income families. However, the number of students belonging to these groups who took the SAT has increased considerably since 2009, and overall achievement on the SAT among minority students has also risen. Despite these gains, College Board suggests that additional measures be taken to help minority students attain college.

Glimmers of hope
While the report indicates there is significant room for improvement in ensuring students are ready to take on the challenge of college, there was some good news in the report. Of the students who were considered college-ready, 78 percent subsequently enrolled in a four-year college or university, compared with 46 percent of students who failed to meet the College Board's benchmark score of 1550.

In addition, young people who attained this score were more likely to successfully graduate within four years than those who did not. Approximately 54 percent of college-ready students earned their bachelor's degrees within the four-year timeframe, compared to just 27 percent who did not meet the benchmark score. Students who attained a score of 1550 or more were also more likely to have successfully completed a core curriculum in high school, taken Advanced Placement classes and rank in the top 10 percent of their school's graduating class according to grade point average.

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