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New Wisconsin SAT results exceed national average

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MADISON — The Wisconsin Dept. of Public Instruction reports state results for 2012 on the SAT college admissions exam exceeded national averages and participation in the Advance Placement program continued strong growth.

The state had 4 percent (2,782) of its 2012 public and private schools graduates take the SAT at some time during their high school career. Wisconsin’s mean score for critical reading was 594 on a scale of 200 to 800, compared to a national critical reading score of 496. In mathematics, Wisconsin students averaged 605 compared to the national mean score of 514. The writing mean score was 577 in Wisconsin compared to 488 nationally.

Overall participation in the SAT has been declining. Far more Wisconsin students take the ACT for college admissions. Results announced earlier this summer showed 71 percent of 2012 graduates took the ACT. Their scores also were above the national average, tied for second in the nation with Iowa among ACT-taking states.

The College Board’s preliminary data on Advanced Placement (AP) results also showed a 6.5 percent increase in participation in Wisconsin from last year. The state had 33,455 students who took AP exams last spring. Students of color were nearly 12 percent of AP test-takers in 2012.

Even with increased participation, Wisconsin students continue to have a strong success rate on AP exams. The percentage of students earning scores of three, four, or five was 68.4 percent, 9.1 percentage points higher than the national average. The AP exams are scored on a scale of one to five. Students who had a three or higher have “passed” the exam and typically are eligible for course credit at most colleges and universities.

The College Board administers both the SAT and AP testing programs. The SAT is administered at various times throughout the school year. AP exams test student’s college-level subject knowledge. The exams, administered in spring, generally relate to AP coursework taken in high school. The College Board will release a more detailed analysis of AP results in its annual “AP Report to the Nation” in winter 2013.