Over 2.2 Million Students in Class of 2019 Took SAT, Largest Group Ever

The growth of SAT School Day continues to provide greater access to higher education for an increasingly diverse population; Mean SAT scores drop slightly

New York—Over 2.2 million students in the class of 2019 took the SAT, an increase of 4% over the class of 2018, according to the 2019 SAT Suite of Assessments Program Results. The class of 2019 was the first to take the full SAT Suite of Assessments: SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT 10, and PSAT 8/9.

The Growing, Changing SAT Population

Almost a million students in the class of 2019 took the SAT on a school day, up from nearly 780,000 in the class of 2018. This means 43% of the class of 2019 took the SAT on a school day, compared to 36% of the class of 2018.

SAT School Day increases diversity in the test-taking population by making it possible for more low-income students, underrepresented minority students, and students from families with no history of college attendance to take the SAT. A growing body of research shows that when students have greater access to college entrance tests like the SAT more of them apply to college, and that's particularly true for low-income students.

In the class of 2019, 46% of SAT School Day test takers were from high-poverty public schools, compared to only 22% of students who tested on a weekend; 46% of SAT School Day test takers were underrepresented minorities, versus only 32% of those who tested on weekends; and 45% of SAT School Day test takers were first-generation, compared to 30% of weekend testers.

"SAT School Day gives students nationwide increased access to higher education. At its core, SAT School Day strives to remove barriers for students who would not or could not test on a weekend," said Cyndie Schmeiser, Senior Advisor to the College Board CEO and the previous head of the assessment division.

The average SAT score for the class of 2019 is down slightly—1059 compared to 1068 for the class of 2018. In terms of college readiness, 45% of SAT takers in the class of 2019 met or exceeded both the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (ERW) and Math benchmarks, indicating a high likelihood for success in credit-bearing college coursework. This is down slightly from 47% for the class of 2018.

The Full SAT Suite of Assessments

The full SAT Suite of Assessments consists of the SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT 10, and PSAT 8/9. Over 8 million students took a test from the SAT Suite during the 2018–2019 school year, up from 7.8 million in 2017–2018. Test takers from the class of 2019 who took PSAT-related assessments performed better on the SAT than students who did not. For example, 52% of SAT takers who took every PSAT-related assessment were college and career ready, compared to 36% for students who did not take any PSAT-related assessments. Similarly, students in the class of 2019 who took the PSAT/NMSQT in 11th grade met or exceeded both college readiness benchmarks at higher rates than students who didn’t take that earlier assessment.

"We are really excited about and encouraged by the data showing that students who engage PSAT-related assessments earlier in their high school experience are more likely to be on track for college success," said Auditi Chakravarty, Senior Vice President, Learning, Evaluation, and Research.

Data on Retaking the SAT

Retaking the SAT tends to yield higher SAT scores. Lower-income students see larger score increases than their higher-income peers when they retake the SAT, and their likelihood of enrolling in a four-year college goes up by 30 percentage points, according to research.

While lower-income students tend to see greater score gains on retakes than their higher-income peers, they are also, unfortunately, less likely to retake the SAT. To help lower-income students show what they have achieved in high school, the College Board is encouraging these students to test earlier, which would leave more time to take additional courses to strengthen their readiness skills, to practice these skills, and to demonstrate their progress by retaking the SAT.

"We know there are challenges ahead, but College Board is taking measures to expand access to opportunity and support college and career readiness. By promoting early testing, practice on Khan Academy®, and SAT retakes at no charge for lower-income students, we hope to help more students achieve their educational and career goals," Schmeiser said.