NYC Students See Gains on SAT Scores, while Scores Nationwide Decrease
NEW YORK – New York City students showed increases in SAT participation and scores during the 2014-15 school year, and the number of students taking and passing Advanced Placement exams also increased. City students’ SAT score gains substantially outpaced those nationwide, and increased in every section across all ethnic groups. The number of students taking and passing at least one Advanced Placement exam also increased across all ethnic groups. The gains reflect the Administration’s ongoing commitment to increasing college access and planning opportunities for all students, which is being renewed and vigorously expanded through the implementation of College Access for All and AP for All. Both initiatives were announced last month in the Mayor’s plan for equity and excellence in education.
The average SAT math score for NYC seniors increased three points from 463 to 466, while the average critical reading score increased four points from 440 to 444 and the average writing score increased three points from 436 to 439. Nationwide, average scores on all three components of the SAT fell. In the rest of New York State, average scores fell in math and writing and stayed flat on the critical reading portion of the exam. The number of City seniors taking the SAT also increased from 47,950 students to a record 48,678 students.
On Advanced Placement, the number of students taking at least one exam rose 8.0%, from 39,318 students to a record 42,481 students, and has increased 40.1% in the last five years. Participation increases were largest for Black and Hispanic students: specifically, 16.0% more Black students and 8.7% more Hispanic students took at least one AP exam in 2014-15 than in the previous year. The number of students passing AP exams also increased 5.9%.
“I believe that all our students should graduate high school with the skills, coursework, and college planning they need to thrive in college, and we’re investing in that work like never before with College Access for All and AP for All,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “I’m very encouraged to see more New York City students taking these exams and meeting the high bar that they set. I look forward to building on these gains as we work to make college access and success a reality for all our students.”
The City also continues to offer the PSAT free of charge – which high school sophomores and juniors across the City are taking today. Since 2007, when this program was first instituted, student participation has remained steady. Over 113,000 sophomores and juniors took the PSAT last school year. Scores decreased slightly, with the average NYC math score dropping .1 point from 41.6 to 41.5, the critical reading average dropping from 39.2 to 39.0, and the writing average dropping from 37.5 to 36.8.
The City is implementing broader College Access for All and AP for All plans as part of the Mayor’s agenda for equity and excellence across schools. Through College Access for All, every student will have resources and tailored supports at their high school to pursue a path to college. This can include schools providing students with opportunities to visit a college campus, get help completing applications, be paired with a college student who can serve as a mentor, or receive support in setting a strategy with their family on how they will afford college. Additionally, every middle school student will have the opportunity to visit a college campus. Through AP for All, every high school student will have access to a range of Advanced Placement courses.
“I welcome the news that our city's students are participating in greater numbers in taking the SAT and Advanced Placement exams, and I applaud the improved results we are seeing,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “Every student, regardless of where they begin, needs to finish their high school education prepared for college and career opportunities, and I look forward to furthering that mission in Brooklyn.”
“The SAT scores across the City, including Staten Island, show a strong, successful collaboration between teachers, students and families to make college a reality. The Mayor and Chancellor have, through the implementation of initiatives for ‘Strong Schools, Strong Communities,’ and ‘equity and excellence in education,’ demonstrated commitment to education and these scores – achieved by students who are receiving that support – are proof that programs like College Access for All are important,” said Staten Island Borough President James Oddo.
“Investing in programs like College Access for All and AP for All bolsters our efforts to ensure every student in New York City is well prepared to pursue a higher education and successful career once they graduate high school,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “It is very encouraging to see more students receiving the guidance, resources and support they need to explore higher education.”
“I am pleased to congratulate Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, the Department of Education, and all of our students, parents, educators, and administrators for these significant achievements. The high numbers of students sitting for SAT and AP exams should serve as a clear indication that New York City Schools produce ambitious students ready to rise to the challenges in front of them. I commend the hard work of these dedicated students and look forward to their continued success as our stars and scholars of the future,” said Council Member Vanessa Gibson.
“I am pleased to know that New York City students showed increases in SAT scores and Advanced Placement (AP) exams this past year,” said Council Member Inez Barron. “It is certainly encouraging to know that students are demonstrating their proficiencies on these formalized tests. Assessments in math, critical reading and writing, as part of the SAT, are important for evaluating performance in these areas. Likewise, a validation of comprehensive understanding of particular subject matter, as measured by AP tests, is also important. Fortunately, colleges and universities are increasingly looking to numerous other indicators as they identify students for their institutions. This is especially beneficial to African-American and Latino students who have not had the resources to benefit from prep courses for exams such as SAT. The Administration’s new initiatives, College Access for All and AP for All, will serve to increase awareness of higher education opportunities and remove barriers that have denied many students access to college. I believe that comprehensive instruction in subjects of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) in a culturally sensitive curriculum will expand the City’s efforts to achieve equity and excellence.”
The citywide results on the 2014-15 Advanced Placement exams, SAT, and PSAT are available online. School-level results will be available as part of the School Quality Reports.