Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The College Board released results from three of its programs – PSAT/NMSQT, SAT, and Advanced Placement Program® (AP®)

 For the first time ever, the College Board released results from three of its programs – PSAT/NMSQT, SAT, and Advanced Placement Program® (AP®) – in a combined manner. The national and state-level results paint a more complete picture of student progress during high school, showing missed opportunities for just-graduated students and areas where action can be taken to improve student outcomes for those still in high school.
The combined results build on the College Board’s work to move beyond delivering assessments to delivering opportunity.
In September 2013, the College Board released results for the SAT class of 2013 and cited stagnant performance as a call to action to increase college and career readiness. In partnership with its members, the College Board has since engaged in an in-depth analysis of how its programs could be used to increase opportunity.
Following the 2013 results, on March 5, 2014, the College Board made a commitment to a redesigned SAT focused on the skills and knowledge evidence shows matter most for college and career success. The redesigned SAT will first be administered in March 2016.
PSAT/NMSQT Results: Insights into Opportunities
The PSAT/NMSQT is the linchpin among the College Board programs and plays a critical role in the College Board’s work to improve student outcomes. It is the nation’s largest and most representative pre-college assessment and provides valuable early information about student progress.
  • In 2013-14, a record 3.7 million students took the PSAT/NMSQT. Of these, 1,678,760 (45.9 %) were minority students.
PSAT/NMSQT results are also the best predictor of a student’s potential to succeed in certain AP courses – identifying students with a high likelihood of succeeding in particular AP subjects as early as 10th grade, and providing actionable feedback to help educators, parents, and students address any deficiencies in student preparation.
PSAT/NMSQT results show in the public high school class of 2014, almost four out of 10 students with AP potential did not take an AP course for which they showed likelihood of success.
  • In the class of 2016, nearly a half a million (491,508) students who took the PSAT/NMSQT in October 2013 show potential to succeed in AP courses. Among public school students, 381,792 show potential. For context, 38.3 % of public school students in the class of 2016 took the PSAT/NMSQT in October 2013.
By identifying potential for more students early, we can help them take advantage of opportunities they have earned.
SAT Results: Opportunities Missed in the Class of 2014
The SAT is a key piece of the college admissions process. A look at the SAT class of 2014 shows an increase in overall participation – including among minority students and students who took the exam using a fee waiver.  
  • 1,672,395 students from the class of 2014 took the SAT, an increase compared to 1,660,047 students last year.
  • 793,986 students were minority students — an increase from 762,511 last year.
  • 394,992 students took the exam using a fee waiver, an increase from 387,748 last year.
However, overall performance remained stagnant. Only 42.6 % of SAT takers in the class of 2014 met the SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmark.
The SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmark represents those students who are likely to be ready to take college-entry, credit-bearing courses and not need remediation. This number has remained virtually unchanged over the last several years.
This readiness challenge remains especially acute among underrepresented minority students:
  • 15.8% of African American SAT takers met the benchmark.
  • 23.4% of Hispanic SAT takers met the benchmark.
  • 33.5% of Native American SAT takers met the benchmark.
These numbers are also stagnant when compared to last year’s readiness percentages.
Students in the SAT class of 2014 missed opportunities that could have helped them make successful transitions to college. A look at both PSAT/NMSQT and SAT results reveals a group of students who fell off target between the time they took the PSAT/NMSQT and the SAT.
  • Of the 1.67 million SAT takers who graduated in 2014, just over 609,000 took the PSAT/NMSQT in the fall of their junior year and the SAT in the fall of their senior year.  Over 29,000 (5%) of these students were on target for college and career readiness in the 11th grade but fell off target by the fall of their senior year.
There was also a group of test-takers in the SAT class of 2014 who were close to meeting the SAT Benchmark.
  • 9% (157,417) of the 1.67 million SAT takers who graduated in 2014 were within one year’s growth of being on target for college and career readiness.
AP: Areas of Promise
AP courses offer students the opportunity to pursue college-level coursework while still in high school. Access to challenging course work in high school is a key part of ensuring successful transitions to college and careers.
Currently, the majority of U.S. students who enter four-year colleges do not graduate within four years, spending extra time and money to attain a bachelor’s degree. New research shows that students who have taken at least one AP exam, including those that score a 1 or 2, are more likely to graduate college on time than academically matched peers who did not take AP.  Students who score a 3, 4, or 5 on AP Exams have the potential to save time and money through credit-granting policies at more than 3,900 colleges and universities in the United States. 
A look at the May 2014 AP Exam administration shows:
  • 1,478,084 11th and 12th grade public school students took AP in 2014, an increase of 3.8% from last year.
  • 408,808 were traditionally underrepresented minority students, an increase of 7.0% from last year.
  • 355,379 were low-income students, an increase of 7.3% from last year.
Overall, 21.9 % of public high school 11th- and 12th-graders took an AP Exam last year. However, gaps continue to persist – some small and some large.
  • 19.1 % of Hispanic students, 12.9 % of African American students, and 12.0% of Native American students took an AP Exam last year.
Access to AP is particularly important for underserved students because of the ways AP classes connect students to college majors and careers. For example, research finds that African-American and Hispanic students who take AP STEM coursework are 2 - 4 times more likely than their peers to major in related STEM disciplines.
Notably, educators have achieved a steady increase in the percentage of students who earn high AP Exam scores of 3, 4, or 5 before leaving high school.
  • The percentage of the nation’s public high school 11th- and 12th graders succeeding on at least one AP Exam has nearly doubled over the past decade from 7.6% in May 2004 to 13.2% in May 2014.

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