Press Releases - OSPI
LanguagesA-Z IndexPrinter Friendly Image

For media inquiries, please contact: 



Washington Students Lead Nation Again in SAT Scores
State students earn the highest average score where more than 50 percent of eligible students participate in the college-entrance exam

OLYMPIA — September 14, 2011 — For the ninth consecutive year, Washington students’ average score on the three major SAT exams (reading, writing and math) was the highest in the nation 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 2011. Nearly 39,000 Washington students took the SAT last school year, including 33,085 public school students, a large participation increase of 13 percent, or nearly 4,000 students, from 2010.

Washington students’ average combined score in reading, math and writing was 520, higher than all states in which at least 30 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.

New Hampshire had the second highest average score of 519.6, followed by Massachusetts (516), Oregon (513), Vermont (512.6) and Connecticut (511.6). Washington had the nation’s highest score in math (529), was tied for first with New Hampshire in reading (523) and was fourth in writing (508) of states with 50 percent or more participation.

“Results like these show our education system is working,” State Superintendent Randy Dorn said. “Our teachers and students are doing a tremendous job. I just hope the Legislature and governor understand that results like these will certainly level off as our state budget worsens and we continue to cut the education budget.”

Washington’s SAT participation rate of 57 percent was higher than all Western states (except Hawaii at 64 percent) and the nation (50 percent).

The participation rates of Washington’s public school students saw a dramatic 12.8 percent increase from 2010. Participation among black students increased 21.8 percent, followed by Hispanics (19.8 percent) and Asians (13.2 percent) for a 16.6 percent increase among the three groups.

Scores for Washington’s 33,085 public school students who took the SAT were generally mixed, mostly rising or falling by 1 or 2 points. But with the large participation increase, it would be difficult for scores to show significant increases, Dorn said.

“Our participation rates please me as much as our scores,” Dorn said. “I’ve continually talked about providing access to all students for all programs. When students are able to take college-entrance exams or college-level courses, they challenge themselves and perform better in all areas.”

The College Board announced today that 1,973,545 students in the class of 2011 across the nation took the SAT, representing 50 percent of high school graduates, a 7 percent increase from 2010.

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.

For national 2011 SAT results, visit

The preliminary results for Advanced Placement performance and participation by state students were also impressive, Dorn said. Early AP results released by the College Board show state student participation increased by 10.5 percent from 2010 and their college-mastery level (scores of 3, 4 or 5) by 13.0 percent. A total of 35,626 Washington public school students took 60,287 AP exams.


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.

Twitter | Facebook | Flickr

Chris Barron
Assessment Communications Manager
(360) 725-6032

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 6/12/2015

Old Capitol Building, PO Box 47200, 600 Washington St. S.E., Olympia, WA  98504-7200  360-725-6000  TTY 360-664-3631
Contact Us    |    A-Z Index    |    Site Info    |    Staff Only    |    Education Data System (EDS)