Madison Student SAT Results Released

Madison Metropolitan School District [SAT Wisconsin Report – 244K PDF]:

Madison students taking the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scored significantly above their state and local peers, continuing a trend of more than a decade.
Madison students’ composite score was 1251, well above Wisconsin students’ composite score of 1188 and the national composite of 1021. (See tables below for details.) The composite score combines a student’s math and verbal scores on the test. Each section of the test is worth 800 points.
For the first time, the SAT was expanded to include a writing test, however, several Madison seniors took the SAT prior to the change, so the writing sample is not included in the composite totals. But the 370 Madison students who did take the writing test had a mean score of 599, compared with 577 for state students and 497 nationally.
The participation rate by Madison seniors was 22.6%, down from 24% last year. Only 402 students took the SAT test. Most Madison students take the ACT college entrance exam, with 70% of Madison seniors taking the ACT in 2005-2006.

SAT Score Comparison by Year:

Year      Madison   Wisconsin US
2005-06   1251      1188      1021
2004-05   1266      1191      1028
2003-04   1250      1183      1027
2002-03   1241      1179      1026
2001-02   1242      1182      1020
2000-01   1229      1180      1020
1999-00   1257      1181      1019
1998-99   1248      1179      1016
1997-98   1254      1175      1017
1996-97   1247      1169      1016
1995-96   1229      1163      1013
Year      Madison   Wisconsin US
2005-06   617       588       503
2004-05   624       592       508
2003-04   615       587       508
2002-03   606       585       507
2001-02   606       583       504
2000-01   603       584       506
1999-00   618       584       505
1998-99   609       584       505
1997-98   614       581       505
1996-97   616       579       505
1995-96   608       577       505
Year      Madison   Wisconsin US
2005-06   634       600       518
2004-05   642       599       520
2003-04   635       596       518
2002-03   635       594       519
2001-02   636       599       516
2000-01   626       596       514
1999-00   639       597       514
1998-99   639       595       511
1997-98   640       594       512
1996-97   631       590       511
1995-96   621       586       508

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Madison Metropolitan School District

Public Information Office
545 W. Dayton St.
Madison, WI 53703

There’s been quite a discussion of the recently released ACT scores here and here.
Much more on the SAT here.
Jay Matthews:

At a press conference in Washington, College Board officials blamed the drop in scores not on increased test difficulty, but on fewer students taking it more than once. They emphasized, however, their concern that SAT reading scores have been virtually unchanged in the past 30 years and that students are reporting a decline in the amount of composition and grammar lessons they are getting in their English courses.
The officials rejected the view of many students, counselors and SAT preparatory course teachers that the score drop was the result of fatigue from the longer test. The new SAT is 3 hours and 45 minutes and can take more than four hours, counting breaks.

Joanne Jacobs:

The highlight of the standards report is: It Takes a Vision: How Three States Created Great Academic Standards by me [200K PDF
]. Working as a freelancer, I analyzed the development of standards — the politics, the players and the passion — in Massachusetts, California and Indiana, all of which got top ratings from Fordham.

Alan Borsuk:

Whatever the reason for the drop, it hit a sour note just as students nationwide are launching or are about to launch a new school year.
The combined drop in reading and math scores on the nation’s most widely used college entrance exam was 7 points, from 1028 out of a possible 1600 last year to 1021 this year.
Officials of the College Board in the past have said increases of similar size were significant good news. This time, they said little should be read into the downturn.
The decline contrasted with the largest one-year increase in 20 years nationwide in scores on the ACT, the other major college entrance test. ACT officials said this month that the average rose from 20.9 a year ago to 21.1 this year, on a scale of 1 to 36.
In some ways, Wisconsin didn’t play much of a role in either the SAT or ACT trends – and that was good news because of how well Wisconsin students do on each of the tests, officials said.

Karen Arenson:

Instead, the officials attributed the drop to a decline in the number of students who took the exam more than once. The board said 47 percent of this year’s students took the test only once, up from 44 percent last year. The number taking the test three times fell to less than 13 percent from nearly 15 percent.
Students typically gain 14 points a section when they take the test a second time, and another 10 or 11 points a section on the third try.
The SAT writing test includes a 25-minute essay, which counts for about 30 percent of the writing score, and 49 multiple-choice questions on grammar and usage, which count for the rest. The average score on the writing section was 497 out of a possible 800, the board said.


Also gaining attention is the impact of the new writing section on average male-female SAT score differences. Historically, men have had higher average scores than women, not just on the SAT overall but also on both its verbal and math subsections–a departure from other assessments where men tend to do better than women on math (with a few caveats), but women tend to do better on verbal skills. But women did do better than men, on average, on the new writing section, lowering the the male-female score gap from 42 points in 2005 to 26 points this year. In addition to the writing section, the new critical reading section, which eliminated the infamous verbal analogies, probably also made the test more female-friendly, since verbal analogies are one of the few areas of verbal skills in which men typically outperform women, and the difference between men’s critical reading scores this year and their verbal skills last year is larger than that for women.