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State SAT Scores Lead the Nation Again
Washington students continue trend of earning top scores among states where more than 50 percent of eligible students participate

OLYMPIA — September 13, 2010 — For the eighth consecutive year, Washington state SAT averages are the highest in the nation in reading, writing and math among states in which more than half of the eligible students took the tests, according to figures released by the College Board today.

The ranking is based on students taking the SAT who were 12th graders in the Class of 2010. More than 37,000 Washington students took the SAT last school year, including nearly 29,000 public school students.

Washington students scored higher in critical reading, math and writing than all states in which at least 25 percent of its students tested. The percentage of students tested is significant because generally the more students who test, the lower their scores. However, Washington has bucked that trend through most of the past decade.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: When students stay with us through the 12th grade, they have a much greater chance for success,” said State Superintendent Randy Dorn. “Our results on our state and national testing show that to be true. Students who work toward the goal of college are at the top of the nation. That should be gratifying to our state’s families and educators.”

Washington’s SAT participation rate of 54 percent remained the highest among Western states (43 percent) and the nation (47 percent). Among states with at least half of the eligible students taking the SAT, Washington ranked first in critical reading and math, and fourth in writing.

Washington’s 28,660 public school students who took the SAT increased their reading and math scores by 3 points and writing by 4 points when compared to 2009. Black, Asian and white students in Washington increased scores in all three areas as 34 percent of SAT test takers identified themselves as non-white.

“College-entrance exams provide valuable information to us about all of our students,” Dorn said. “Finding more ways students can access these exams is a benefit to us all.”

The College Boardannounced today that 1,547,900 students in the class of 2010 across the nation took the SAT, representing 47 percent of high school graduates, a 1 percent increase from 2009.

The SAT is one of two primary college readiness exams evaluated by colleges and universities in their admissions process. Students can take the SAT at any time during high school, but results are only counted once in the national report. Students’ most recently earned scores are included in today’s announcement.

The SAT is a legislatively approved alternative to Washington’s high school state exams in reading, math and writing. After students take the state’s high school exam once, they can use qualifying scores from the ACT or SAT to meet the graduation requirements. Students who transfer into Washington public schools in the 11th or 12th grade from out of state or an in-state non-public school setting can use one of the alternatives without taking a state exam.

The preliminary results for Advanced Placement performance and participation by state students was also impressive, Dorn said. Early AP results released by the College Board show state student participation increased by 6.7 percent from 2009 and their college-mastery level (scores of 3, 4 or 5) by 6.1 percent.

For national 2010 SAT results, visit


About OSPI

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K-12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine Educational Service Districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.

OSPI does not discriminate and provides equal access to its programs and services for all persons without regard to race, color, gender, religion, creed, marital status, national origin, sexual preference/orientation, age, veteran’s status or the presence of any physical, sensory or mental disability.

Nathan Olson
OSPI Communications Manager
(360) 725-6015

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Average SAT Scores by Subject













Note: The SAT is composed of the three tests listed above. Scores range from 200 to 800 for each test.


   Updated 9/13/2010

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