Core Curriculum, Rigorous Course Work Lead to Stronger Scores among Maine Students

Maine students’ scores on the SAT and the Advanced Placement test remain stable

AUGUSTA – An annual national report released today by the College Board shows Maine students’ scores on the SAT and the Advanced Placement test remained stable, while participation diversified.

“Completing a core curriculum that includes four years of English, and three or more years of math, science, and social science/history, has a dramatic positive impact on SAT scores,” said Education Commissioner Angela Faherty. “According to the report, the core curriculum results in an average 204 more points for students on the critical reading, mathematics, and writing tests combined. AP and other honors courses also increase student performance. It’s a significant boon to college readiness.”

“Maine’s participation is the highest in the nation and continues to remain stable, while representing a more diverse student population,” Faherty added.

The SAT is Maine’s statewide grade 11 assessment, leading to the high participation rate, as well as lower average scores since in other states typically only students planning to go on to post-secondary education take the exam. That, coupled with the higher use of the ACT test in some states, leads to SAT participation rates of between 2 percent and 75 percent in the other states.

The class of 2010 was the most diverse group of SAT takers in Maine’s history. Minority students accounted for 9.1 percent, up from 6.9 percent in 2005. Compared to five years ago, two-and-a-half times as many African American students took the SAT; twice as many Asian American and Hispanic students took the test.

SAT scores by graduated seniors in Maine public schools were largely unchanged, with a one point increase in the critical reading score for public school students and a one point decrease, reflective of a national trend, in writing. Math scores remained unchanged.

Maine continues to perform well on AP subject exams, with 1.7 percent more students this year receiving scores of 3 or higher. A score of 3 or above is considered to predict success in a college level course in the subject tested.  Many colleges and universities accept a 3 or above for college credit.

The Maine Department of Education will release detailed information about SAT scores by last year’s juniors, a different measure, in the coming weeks as part of its annual accountability reporting, which will also report on the Adequate Yearly Progress of Maine high schools.

Information on the College Board’s report, including data on Maine, can be found at:
http://professionals.collegeboard.com/data-reports-research/sat/cb-seniors-2010