Wisconsin exceeds national averages in both SAT and Advanced Placement scores, according to a report released Monday.
According to a statement from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, the results from the 2012 Wisconsin SAT college examination show Wisconsin significantly above the national average in the three categories students are tested in: critical reading, mathematics and writing.
For the SAT, on a scale of 200 to 800, Wisconsin’s average score was 594, while the national average is 496, according to the statement. The statement said the national average mathematics score is 514, while Wisconsin’s mean score is 605.
In terms of the writing, the Wisconsin average is 577, as opposed to the national average of 488, according to the statement.
Tony Evers, the state superintendent for the Wisconsin Department of Instruction, addressed the success Wisconsin is having in terms of Advanced Placement scores in the statement.
“Wisconsin graduates who take the SAT had strong overall results,” Evers said in the statement. “The big story from the College Board is our continued growth and solid performance in the Advanced Placement Program. Advanced Placement gives students a jumpstart on post-secondary studies and offers preparation for the challenges of college and careers.”
According to the data from the College Board, AP test participation has increased by 6.5 percent in Wisconsin. According to that same data, 68.4 percent of students receive a three, four or five on the AP tests. The national average is 59.3 percent, according to the statement.
“With our efforts to increase Advanced Placement participation through face-to-face online instruction, dual enrollment agreements and other opportunities, Wisconsin is offering lots of ways to engage students and help them pursue rigorous studies,” Evers said.
“We need to continue these efforts so our students are truly prepared for college and careers,” Evers added.
UW Sociology and Educational Policy professor Adam Gamoran said most students take the ACT versus the SAT because Wisconsin state schools require it for admission.
Students who usually take the SAT are often the people that are looking to attend more elite schools on the East or West coast, Gamoran said.
According to Gamoran, the reason SAT scores are much higher is because only a select few of the college bound students, usually the ones who aim to attend an Ivy League, will actually take the SAT. As for the above average AP test scores, Gamoran says that is a reflection of the Wisconsin teachers.
“Colleges have increasingly looked at AP test scores to judge the rigor of students’ academic experience,” Gamoran said. “If students are doing well on AP tests, it shows that Wisconsin has teachers who serve the students well.”
According to the statement, SAT test taking is on the decline. However, 71 percent of students take the ACT in Wisconsin. Wisconsin ACT scores are tied for second in the nation, along with Iowa, the statement said.
UW Educational Psychology associate professor James Wollack said he is glad to note ACT scores in Wisconsin are above average.
“That certainly suggests that the college-bound students in Wisconsin are doing very well relative to that same population in other states with respect to English/Language Arts and mathematics fundamentals,” Wollack said.