Kathy Toelkes, Director of Communications, 785-296-4876
For immediate release
Sept. 14, 2010
Kansas student participation rates on SAT college
entrance exam declining
TOPEKA – The number of Kansas public school students participating in the SAT college entrance exam dropped significantly in 2010, although average scores among test takers increased. Information released by The College Board this week showed a decrease of more than 15 percent in the number of SAT test takers in Kansas public schools in the last school year. Among those who did participate in the exam, average scores in reading, math and writing were up between nine and 17 points.
Just a small percentage of Kansas students typically take the SAT exam, primarily just those students who are seeking admission to out-of-state colleges and universities. In 2010, just 4 percent of Kansas public high school graduates – or 1,224 students - participated in the exam. That number is down by 15.5 percent from the previous year, something that may be attributable to a down economy that is causing more graduates to opt for in-state colleges with lower tuition rates.
“We don’t typically see a large number of Kansas students opting to take the SAT exam, but the significant decrease in participation that was experienced in 2010 is somewhat surprising,” said interim Kansas Education Commissioner Dr. Diane DeBacker. “While we don’t know with certainty what caused the drop in participation, it is not unreasonable to assume that the impact of the recent recession on family incomes and savings may have caused some students to rethink attendance at out-of-state universities in favor of staying closer to home where tuition rates would not be as high.”
As a state with a small percentage of students participating in the exam, Kansas tends to post some of the higher scores on the SAT as compared to other states where participation rates are higher. Typically as more students participate in exams average scores go down. On the 2010 exam, average Kansas scores in reading for public school graduates were up 17 points to 604 out of a possible 800 score. Average scores in math for public school graduates increased nine points to 603 and writing scores increased 13 points to 580. That tops national averages, where scores in reading for public school graduates were 498, math scores were 511 and writing scores were 488.