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More Texas students take SAT, scores stable

AUSTIN (AP) – More Texas high school seniors than ever before took the SAT college entrance test this year, the Texas Education Agency announced last Tuesday.

The agency said 111,277 seniors took the exam, an increase of 39 percent since 1991.

Scores on the test remained relatively stable.
Texans scored an average 493 out of a possible 800 on the verbal section, a gain of five points since 1991. Math scores dropped from 500 to 499.

“As more students take a test, scores tend to fall,” Education Commissioner Jim Nelson said Tuesday. “However, we want our scores to rise.”

Nelson pointed to recently passed legislation that would automatically enroll students in the recommended high school curriculum that contains more advanced college-preparatory courses. Students could opt out of that curriculum level with permission from the school and from their parents.
According to the nonprofit College Board, owner of the SAT, Texas males outscored females on the math test, earning an average score of 516 compared to 485 for women.

Texas males also scored higher on the verbal section, 497 to a female average of 489.

Fifty-four percent of the seniors who took the SAT in Texas were female.

Scores for white students were higher than those of minority students.

White students averaged 523 on the verbal and 528 on math. Black students scored 425 on the verbal and 421 on math. Hispanic students scored 448 on the verbal and 453 in math. Asian students earned an average score of 506 in verbal and 565 on the math section.

The three most popular college majors for those taking the test were health professions and allied services; business and commerce, and engineering technologies.

The University of Texas, Texas A&M University and Texas Tech University were the three public institutions students most frequently asked scores to be sent to. The three top private institutions were Baylor, Rice and Texas Christian University.
Introduced in 1926, the SAT is designed and administered by the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, N.J. Used in tandem with high school grades, the tests are meant as a predictor of first-year performance at college.