SAT scores up for HISD students, despite declines in state and national averages

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SAT scores up for HISD students, despite declines in state and national averages

Number of graduates scoring at college-ready level is up in all subjects and across all student groups

Sept. 30, 2015 — The Houston Independent School District saw an upswing in graduating seniors’ overall reading and math scores on the 2015 SAT college entrance exam, bucking state and national trends that showed slight decreases in all subjects.

The increase in scores coincides with an increase in the number of students taking the SAT. The total number of participating students has more than doubled in the last six years, largely because of Superintendent Terry Grier’s decision in 2011 allowing all high school juniors to take the SAT for free at their home campus during regular school hours. Students also receive free access to the College Board’s online SAT test preparation materials. As a result, more HISD students than ever are scoring at the college-ready level in all three subject areas and across all racial and ethnic groups.

Hispanic students, in particular, showed significant gains in the number of students scoring 500 or above — generally considered to be a strong sign that students are ready for college-level work — in all subject areas.

“We want all of our students to graduate ready for college and careers. A key part of that is strengthening academic rigor, which has been one of our primary focuses,” Dr. Grier said. “We are setting higher academic standards for our students and teachers, and they are rising to the occasion. These results are indicative of that.”

The overall average score for HISD graduating seniors on the critical reading section was 410 in 2015, which is a four-point increase over 2014. The overall average math score was 437 in 2015, a three-point increase over 2014. Both state and national averages for these two subject areas dropped during the same time period.

HISD average writing scores followed state and national trends, dipping slightly from 408 in 2014 to 403 in 2015.

Over the last six years, the number of graduating students scoring a 500 or above has increased substantially in every subject and across every student group.

The largest increase could be seen in math, with 639 more students earning a 500 or better than in 2010. Hispanic students did especially well in this subject, with 491 more scoring a 500 or better during the same time frame.

HISD Graduating Students With SAT Scores of 500 or Higher
  Critical Reading Math Writing
  2015 2010 % Increase 2015 2010 % Increase 2015 2010 % Increase
All Students 1,983 1,632 22% 2,581 1,942 33% 1,716 1,519 13%
African American 347 295 18% 401 315 27% 254 243 5%
Asian 285 253 13% 344 326 6% 280 248 13%
Hispanic 717 497 44% 1,169 678 72% 617 452 37%
White 581 497 17% 615 519 18% 526 488 8%
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