Scores on PSAT-Related Assessments Increase Across Demographics

Growing SAT School Day program shows momentum for assessments that deliver opportunity; program will be available to all schools this year

NEW YORK – The first year of performance results on the new SAT®, released today in the 2017 SAT Suite Program Results, sets the baseline for SAT performance going forward. The first two years of PSAT-related assessment results, also released today, show an increase in student performance across nearly all demographics and grade levels. Between the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years, average Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing scores increased, and a greater percentage of students were on track for college and career readiness.

The SAT Suite of Assessments—including the new SAT, PSAT/NMSQT®, PSAT 10, and PSAT 8/9—was first administered during the 2015-16 school year. The Suite measures what students are learning in class that is important for them to know to be ready for college-level courses.

“Many more students from all backgrounds are taking advantage of the opportunities these assessments provide,” says David Coleman, president and CEO of the College Board. “With free, personalized practice and the ability to track their own progress throughout high school, these tests empower students to own their future and prepare for success in college and careers.”

The number of students taking advantage of the Suite continues to rise.

  • More than 7.3 million test takers completed the SAT or a PSAT-related assessment in the 2016-17 school year, an increase of nearly 10% since last year.
  • The class of 2017 is the largest cohort in SAT history. More than 1.8 million students took the old or new SAT at least once during high school; 1.7 million (93%) have taken the new SAT.
  • Nearly 4.3 million students took the PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10 in the 2016-17 school year, an increase of more than 46,000 students compared to 2015-16.
  • A record 1.3 million students took the PSAT 8/9 in 2016-17, an increase of more than 417,000 students (47%) compared to 2015-16.

Between the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years, mean scores on PSAT-related assessments increased across all grades and nearly all demographics. For example, mean total scores for 11th graders who took the PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10 increased from 1009 in 2015-16 to 1018 in 2016-17. By race/ethnicity:

  • Mean scores for Asian students increased from 1130 to 1148.
  • Mean scores for black/African American students increased from 885 to 894.
  • Mean scores for Hispanic/Latino students increased from 925 to 932.
  • Mean scores for white students increased from 1064 to 1075.

“It is both rare and encouraging to see this kind of positive improvement across the board. I’m inspired by the swift embrace of the PSAT-related assessments, and even more by the progress we are seeing,” says Cyndie Schmeiser, senior advisor to the president, the College Board.

In addition, more students who were off track when they took one assessment in the SAT Suite are getting on track for college readiness when they take a second assessment as they progress through high school. For example, of students who took the PSAT/NMSQT as 11th graders and then took the new SAT, 12% who were initially off track got on track for college readiness by the time they took the SAT.

Expanding Access to SAT School Day for All Schools

SAT School Day allows juniors and seniors to take the SAT in their own school, during the school day. This program gives more students the chance to show colleges they’re ready. When students have the opportunity to take the SAT at their own school, they’re more likely to take the test and go on to college.

For the first time ever, beginning in December 2017, SAT School Day will be available to all schools, regardless of their size.

“Now, even students from the most isolated rural communities to the suburbs, and students from small schools, independent schools, and religious schools can access the benefits of the SAT on a school day, which could propel them into college. One day—a school day—can make a world of difference for a student,” says Jane Dapkus, vice president, College Readiness Assessments, the College Board. 

The number of students who took the SAT during the school day has increased significantly since 2014. More than 800,000 students participated in SAT School Day during the 2016-17 school year, up from more than 458,000 in 2015-16 and nearly 219,500 in 2014-15. Nine states, the District of Columbia, and more than 250 school districts now offer SAT School Day, including some of the nation’s largest, such as Chicago Public Schools.

“The SAT Suite and Official SAT Practice gave Chicago educators the tools to improve day-to-day instruction and successfully increase student performance, which translates into real changes in students’ outcomes,” says Peter Leonard, director of student assessment at Chicago Public Schools.

Additional Highlights from This Year’s Report

SAT Results

In the class of 2017, 46% of students who took the new SAT met or exceeded the new College and Career Readiness benchmarks, showing they are likely ready to take and succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing college courses. The mean total score for students in the class of 2017 who took the new SAT was 1060. The mean score for the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section was 533 and the mean score for the Math section was 527.

The new SAT was first administered in March 2016. The class of 2017 was the first graduating class in which the majority of test takers—93% of the cohort—took the new SAT. While these performance results cannot be compared to previous years’, they serve as the baseline for the new SAT for future year-to-year comparisons.

Productive Practice

Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy® creates a personalized SAT study plan for each student. Since its launch in June 2015, more than 4 million students have used Official SAT Practice, and nearly 40% of all test takers reported using Official SAT Practice, making it the number one tool for SAT preparation.

More than 400,000 students in the class of 2017—the first graduating class to have access to Official SAT Practice—linked their College Board and Khan Academy accounts to receive a free, personalized SAT study plan. The numbers continue to increase for future graduating classes, with more than 650,000 in the class of 2018 already linked and the number in the class of 2019 growing.

Data released earlier this year link Official SAT Practice to substantial score gains on the new SAT. Studying for the SAT for 20 hours on free Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy is associated with an average score gain of 115 points between the PSAT/NMSQT and SAT, nearly double the average score gain of students who don’t use it. Results showed practice advanced students regardless of gender, race, income, and high school GPA. These results show what’s possible when practice bridges assessment and instruction to help students on their road to college and beyond. Khan Academy and the College Board, through a two-year partnership with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, will continue to work with educators to support students’ SAT practice.

For more information about the College Board's SAT Suite Results visit:  www.collegeboard.org/program-results