More Texas students taking SAT, but average math score sinks to lowest level since 1992

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AUSTIN, Texas — Texas' average statewide math scores on the SAT college entry exam were the lowest in 22 years — 495 for the 2013-2014 high school graduating class, according to official results released Tuesday.

The College Board, a nonprofit which administers the exam, said mean math scores dropped four points from the 2012-2013 academic year. The state's performance on math hasn't been that low since 1992, when the mean score was 493.

Meanwhile, reading scores slipped by a point to 476 and the latest writing mean score was 461, the same as last year. A perfect score in each subject area is 800.

Nationally, SAT scores remained relatively stagnant: The mean score in math was 513; it was 497 in reading; and 487 for writing.

In January, Texas formally scrapped its requirement that most high school students take algebra II, hoping to increase course flexibility for those who want to focus on career and technical training.

The Texas Education Agency announced different mean SAT scores Tuesday, accounting only for the state's 5-plus million public school students. Math scores still dropped five points to 491, but it wasn't clear when they'd last been that low.

The public school Class of 2014's SAT mean scores also fell one point from the previous year to 470 in reading, and to 455 in writing.

The agency also in a statement that more students are taking the SAT. More than 164,000 Texas public school students took the exam in the 2013-2014 academic year, up 4.4 percent from last year and the fifth straight year the state outpaced national SAT participation increases.

The state agency added that 63 percent of public school students who took the SAT identified themselves as minority students.

Also Tuesday, the Texas Education Agency said more than 225,600 public high school students took Advanced Placement exams, a 9.2 percent increase from 2013 and more than the 5.8 percent rise in participation nationally.

Texas students earned at least a 3 out of 5 on 195,000-plus AP exams, the minimum score required to receive college credit. That tally is 11.6 percent better than the previous year, and nearly 40 percent higher than 2009, according to education agency data.

Participation in AP exams by black students increased by almost 12 percent this year as compared to last, and Hispanic students took AP exams at a nearly 10 percent higher rate.

"These gains include a significant increase in the number of underrepresented minority students succeeding in AP," said Stephen Waddell, superintendent of the Lewisville Independent School District northwest of Dallas.

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