Thursday, September 3, 2015

Increased participation in this years PSAT/NMSQT®, SAT®, and AP® Exams

According to the 2015 College Board Program Results released today, a larger and more diverse group of students than ever before is participating in challenging course work and taking advantage of the opportunities associated with College Board programs and assessments.

The PSAT/NMSQT®, SAT®, and AP® Exams always have been opportunity assessments, linking students to scholarships, college admission, and course credit. Anchored in the belief that students today need more opportunities — not more tests — the College Board has redesigned these exams and connected them to a wider array of educational and scholarship benefits.

The PSAT/NMSQT, SAT, and AP results provide valuable information that can help ensure that more students graduate from high school ready for college and career.

Below are highlights from the 2015 Program Results and the recommended strategies to support educators and students.

Access and Participation

Expanding access to actionable assessments and challenging course work is an important way to connect students to college and career opportunities. Significant gains were made in access to the three College Board programs.

PSAT/NMSQT: Record number of test-takers. In the fall of 2014, a record 3.8 million students took the PSAT/NMSQT, up from 3.7 million in 2013 and 3.6 million in 2010.

SAT: Growing participation. A record 1.7 million students from the class of 2015 took the SAT, compared to 1.67 million students from the graduating class of 2014 and 1.65 million in the class of 2011. A total of 25.1 percent of SAT takers in the class of 2015 took the exam using a fee waiver, compared to 23.6 percent in the class of 2014 and 21.3 percent in the class of 2011.

AP: Record number of students takes AP Exams. 2.5 million students took an AP Exam in 2015, compared to 2.3 million in 2014 and just under 2 million in 2011.

Performance and Success

Increased access to assessments can help educators monitor student progress, understand skill areas in need of improvement, and identify students’ potential to succeed in challenging course work. Results from the PSAT/NMSQT are the best predictor of a student’s potential to succeed in certain AP courses. In 2014-15, about 520,000 10th-grade PSAT/NMSQT takers overall showed potential to succeed in at least one AP course.

AP courses offer students the opportunity to pursue college-level course work while still in high school. Students who succeed on AP Exams are more likely than other students to graduate from college on time, and they have the potential to save time and money through placement and credit-granting policies. More than 1.5 million students received a score of 3 or higher on an AP Exam in 2015, compared to 1.4 million in 2014 and 1.2 million in 2011.

Assessment results also can inform whether students are on track for college and career readiness. Nearly 766,000 (48 percent) of 11th-grade PSAT/NMSQT takers met the grade-level benchmark, indicating they are on track for college and career readiness. In addition, these results can help educators and policymakers see areas of progress and growth, as well as areas for improvement.

The SAT is a proven and trusted indicator of college readiness and success for students from all backgrounds. More than 712,000 students (41.9 percent of SAT takers in the class of 2015) met the SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmark. High school graduates who reach the benchmark are more likely to enroll in a four-year college and graduate on time than those who do not meet the benchmark.

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