Oklahoma students taking the SAT continue to score significantly above the national average, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education announced recently.
Additionally, participation in the 2000 SAT program by Oklahoma students reached a five-year high of 3,298, compared to 3,091 in 1999, an increase of 6.7 percent.
Overall, Oklahoma's test-takers achieved an average verbal score of 563 and a math score of 560, compared to the national average verbal score of 505 and national math score of 514.
The SAT exam is used by Oklahoma colleges and universities and primarily by higher education institutions on the East and West coasts as part of the admissions process. The SAT is administered by The College Board.
Though Oklahoma is still outpacing SAT scores nationally, Regents noted a slight drop in verbal performance compared to last year's figures. The 2000 verbal score of 563 is four points below the 567 achieved in 1999. Math performance, however, has remained constant at 560. Nationally, the SAT verbal average was 505 for the fifth consecutive year and the math average was 514, a 30-year high.
"It is gratifying to see more Oklahoma students taking the SAT and performing well above the national average," said Chancellor Hans Brisch. "Though we are excited about the performance of our students, we must keep in mind that The College Board report shows that only 8 percent of our 2000 graduating class took the SAT compared to the national average of 44 percent - which can result in higher scores and fluctuations from year-to-year."
"Our goal as a state should be to continue to support preparation for college and the workplace through emphasizing top notch preparation through core courses," Brisch said. "We are pleased to have in place comprehensive initiatives such as GEAR UP and Brain Gain 2010 that can increase the state's intellectual capital through providing our students with a framework for college preparation and academic success."
Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs - GEAR UP - is a federal program designed to better prepare middle and high school students for college through mentoring programs, scholarships, and new academic preparation and awareness programs for students and parents.
Brain Gain 2010 is an aggressive plan that focuses on increasing the number of students who go to college directly from high school and improving Oklahoma college and university graduation rates. The goal of Brain Gain is to increase the proportion of Oklahomans holding a bachelor's degree from 20 to 28 percent by 2010. It also calls for growing Oklahoma's proportion of associate degree holders from 5 to 10 percent.
Additional information provided to the Regents by The College Board indicate that Oklahoma students preparing for college by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) continue to outperform students on the SAT who did not participate in the preliminary exam.
For example, Oklahoma students who participated in the PSAT/NMSQT scored 77 points higher on verbal and 73 points higher on the math component.
"Emphasizing a core curriculum and college preparation will enable Oklahoma to produce more quality students who will be prepared to have success in both academics and the workforce," said State Regents Chairman Leonard J. Eaton Jr. "This ultimately has positive implications for our colleges and universities as well as the economic well-being of our state."
The GEAR UP grant was awarded to Oklahoma in August 1999 and has been matched by more than $25 million from state and partner resources. With funds totaling $45.5 million, GEAR UP receives 45 percent of total funding from the federal government and 55 percent from other organizations.