Report indicates only 43 percent of SAT takers in class of 2013 ready for college

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Only 43 percent of high school students in the class of 2013 who took the SAT met the College Board’s standards for college readiness, according to an annual report the organization released Thursday.

Of about 1.7 million students in the class of 2013 taking the test, only slightly more than 700,000 met the SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmark score of 1550 out of 2400, the report states.

The benchmark score indicates a 65 percent probability of students obtaining a B-minus-average or higher GPA in their freshman year of college, a measure the College Board uses as a baseline for success in higher education.

“We must dramatically increase the number of students in K–12 who are prepared for college and careers,” said College Board President David Coleman in a press release. “Only by transforming the daily work that students do can we achieve excellence and equity.”

The College Board is working to expand access to Advanced Placement courses and to PSAT/
NMSQT testing, particularly for low-income students. Last year, however, more than 300,000 students who qualified to take AP courses did not take any, according to the report.

Frank Worrell, a campus professor in the Graduate School of Education, believes the report may reflect a problem UC Berkeley faces — particularly regarding R1A and R1B classes, which are required to satisfy the university’s basic reading and composition requirement.

“At Berkeley, we have a selective group of students,” Worrell said. “But even so, there is a significant minority of students who fail to pass their R1A and R1B courses … At the bottom line, students are just not learning the skills they need (in order) to be successful.”

Robert Schaeffer, public education director of the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, believes a better predictor of university performance is a student’s high school performance and not just “arbitrary” test scores.

Moreover, he said, minority representation among students taking the test has increased.

“The SAT does not reflect a decrease in college readiness but an increase in diversity,” Schaeffer said. “No longer is it only white, upper-class males taking these tests.”

Among those taking the test in the class of 2013, 46 percent were minority students — the largest percentage in the test’s history, according to the report.

For the 2013-14 academic year, freshmen admitted to UC Berkeley had an average SAT score of 2077, according to a campus press release.

The University of California removed SAT Subject Tests as an admissions requirement for fall 2012 in response to concerns that the tests were not indicative of how well a student may actually perform on campus.

“The SAT could be considered an indictment of public education,” Worrell said, acknowledging its limitations. “Obviously, the issue is more complex than the tests.”

Contact Savannah Luschei at [email protected].