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Participation Rates Increase for AP, PSAT; remain steady for SAT

OLYMPIA — September 27, 2016 — Results released today by the College Board show that the number of students taking the SAT has remained steady but that PSAT and AP participation has increased.

A total of 39,967 Washington state public school students in the Class of 2016 took the SAT, a number virtually unchanged from 2015 (39,958 students). PSAT participation increased from 2015 to 2106 by 10.1 percent for 10th graders and by 3.5 percent for 11th graders. And participation in AP tests increased by 1.7 percent from 2015 to 2016.

In addition, more qualified students are taking advantage of the federal fee reduction program, which reduces the costs of the tests. In 2015-16, the percentage of students taking tests at a reduced cost was:

  • SAT: 16 percent of students (an increase of 1 percent from 2014-15),
  • PSAT: 29 percent (an increase of 11 percent) and
  • AP: 19 percent (an increase of 1 percent)

“I am pleased that every year, more and more students – especially unrepresented minorities – are taking the tests,” said Randy Dorn, state superintendent of public instruction. “It shows the commitment those students have to get to college and to be successful in college.”

While the reporting of race/ethnicity changed in 2016, making comparisons to previous years more difficult, breakdowns for each test are as follows:


 SATPSAT 10th gradeAP
Group% of total% of total% of total
American Indian1.3%1.40.6
Pacific Islander0.41.40.8
Two or more races2.86.18.0
No Response7.78.91.9

Average scores for the SAT were 501 in critical reading, 506 in math and 481 in writing. (Scores range from 200 to 800.) Because a new SAT was given starting in January 2016, the averages cannot easily be compared to previous years.

For the 10th grade PSAT, average scores were 470 for reading/writing and 470 for math. (Scores range from 160 to 760.) And for AP, 59.3 percent of tests earned scores of 3, 4 or 5, which generally qualify for college credit.

College entrance exams and some AP exams are legislatively approved alternatives to Washington’s high school exit exams. Students can apply to use qualifying scores to meet the assessment requirement for graduation, if they have first attempted to meet standard on a state exam. Students who transfer into Washington public schools in 11th or 12th grade from out of state or an in-state non-public school setting can apply for a “transfer student waiver” to use one of the alternatives without taking a state exam first.

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About OSPI
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K–12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine educational service districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.

OSPI provides equal access to all programs and services without discrimination based on sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. Questions and complaints of alleged discrimination should be directed to the Equity and Civil Rights Director at (360) 725-6162 or P.O. Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200.

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Nathan Olson
Communications Manager
(360) 725-6015 |

The OSPI Communications Office serves as the central point of contact for local, regional and national media covering K-12 education issues.

Communications Manager
Nathan Olson
(360) 725-6015


   Updated 9/27/2016

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