BY BLUE KAUFMAN
Scores on the SAT in Florida plunged to the lowest level in five years last year due to a large influx of students taking the test.
The Standardized Assessment Test (SAT) has a possible score of 2,400. According to the Miami Herald, Florida’s graduating class of 2011 averaged 483 in reading (a nine point drop from the previous year), 486 in math (another 9 point drop) and a 466 in writing (an eight point decline).
Although performance decreases are never welcomed, the lower scores are mainly attributed to the increase in the number of students taking the standardized exam. According to the Orlando Sentinel, more than 114,000 students took the SAT in 2011, an increase of 19,000 over the previous year. More students took the test in 2011 than in any other graduating class.
“Average SAT scores tend to fall as the size of test takers grow,” The College Board said in the Orlando Sentinel.
Florida isn’t the only state with tumbling SAT scores. Throughout the United States, only 43 percent of students reached the 1550 mark on the SAT exam. According to College Board, the drop in Florida scores was much steeper, with scores at the lowest point in the last 5 years.
The Sun Sentinel reported that on top of the rising number of test takers, the diversity of students has also increased. Compared to the rest of the nation, Florida’s SAT takers included a higher percentage of teenagers from low-income families. Regardless of background, students throughout Florida are aiming toward college, an overall triumph despite the drop in scores.
“It’s positive news that so many more diverse students were encouraged to take the SAT and therefore take part in the college planning process,” CCHS BRACE advisor Christine Siwek said. “Here at Cooper City High School, many students study for the SAT by taking SAT preparation courses at College Pursuit and Broward Tutorial Inc. The SAT is not like a typical test that high school students are used to; therefore, it’s necessary to know how to approach it.”
The SAT courses are aimed toward raising scores.
“Kids who take the test without knowing how it’s structured tend to under perform,” Broward Tutorial Inc. tutor Michael Elderly said. “At Broward Tutorial, we focus time and energy to know what traps to look out for.”
While not everybody can afford SAT preparation classes, there is a free course on the Cooper City High BRACE website offered to anyone who wants to practice.
“It’s so great that more diverse students are taking the test,” Siwek said. “Now with practice available for everyone, hopefully Florida’s scores will increase this year.”