Although fewer students took the test, this year's Oklahoma graduating high school seniors fared better on the SAT than last year's seniors.
In contrast to stagnant scores nationwide, Oklahoma's scores edged up this year, according to data released Thursday by the College Board, the organization that administers the test. Oklahoma also topped the national average on the exam, according to data.
Relatively few Oklahoma students take the exam. Only 1,879 Oklahoma seniors who graduated last summer took the SAT, while nearly 30,000 took the ACT.
According to the data, this year's graduating seniors posted average scores of 571 in critical reading, compared to 568 last year; 569 in math, up from 566 last year and 549 in writing up from 546 last year.
Overall, fewer of this year's graduating seniors took the test than last year. But more of Oklahoma's American Indian and Hispanic graduating seniors took the test than last year.
State schools Superintendent Janet Barresi said the results were encouraging.
“It is a goal of mine to close the achievement gap that exists in Oklahoma's minority student population,” Barresi said in a statement. “These participation rates and scores show that we are achieving this goal. These numbers also indicate that our students who take the SAT are being better prepared in Oklahoma schools for the rigors of college and career.”
But Oklahoma's scores on the more popular ACT were less flattering. According to data released last month, more than a quarter of the Oklahoma graduating seniors who took the test were unprepared for college-level work in any subject the test covers.
According to the ACT report, a student who meets a benchmark in a particular area has a 50 percent chance of earning a B or higher and a 75 percent chance of earning a C or higher in a corresponding freshman-level course.
The largest share of Oklahoma students — 29 percent — met none of the benchmarks on the ACT, indicating those students are unprepared for college courses.
Although they showed improvement, Oklahoma students still fell behind the national average on the ACT, according to the report. Nationwide, 25 percent of 2013 graduating high school seniors met all four benchmarks.
Nationwide, graduating seniors' performance on the SAT was stagnant this year, prompting College Board officials to issue a “call to action.”
According to the organization's report, only 43 percent of SAT takers in the class of 2013 graduated from high school with the skills to succeed in college. That figure has remained about the same for the past five years.
In response, the organization announced it would be working with education leaders at the K-12 and postsecondary levels to ensure students had access to rigorous course work, including expanding Advanced Placement courses for high school students nationwide.