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August 26, 2003

(850) 488-5394

Frances Marine
(850) 245-0413

As More Students Take SAT in Florida, Verbal Scores Improve
Results show dramatic increase in number of students taking AP and PSAT exams leads to higher SAT scores

TALLAHASSEE — Governor Jeb Bush and Education Commissioner Jim Horne today released Florida's results on the SAT, which show that the number of test takers in Florida increased 10 percent to nearly 83,400 - the highest ever. Florida's average verbal score rose two points, due largely to higher scores among Hispanic, African-American and Asian males. Results indicate that students who take advanced courses have significantly higher scores. The number of Advanced Placement (AP) test takers increased by 19 percent, compared to 10 percent for the U.S. In addition, 14 percent of all public school sophomore PSAT takers are Floridians.

"I'm pleased to see the dramatic increase in AP test takers, especially among minority students. Our One Florida initiative was designed to increase the number of students taking college level exams, as well as their performance on them. Today's results demonstrate the benefits of our efforts," said Governor Bush. "Just as with the ACT scores released last week, more minority students are being better prepared to go forward and succeed in postsecondary education."

The number of Hispanic and African-American AP test takers jumped by more than 25 percent from 2002 to 2003. Much of that growth in minority test takers has taken place during the last four years. The total number of AP exams given from 1999 to 2003 increased by 82 percent, compared to 32 percent from 1995-1999. Moreover, our minority sophomore students comprise a significant portion of PSAT takers - 27 percent of all Hispanic and 16 percent of all African-American public school sophomore PSAT takers are Floridian.

"The Legislature has been very supportive of the College Board Partnership through an annual appropriation that provides assistance to minority students in taking the PSAT and AP exams. Today, we are seeing the results of that partnership," said Commissioner Horne. "Florida is unique among states in that, while we have seen a considerable increase in the number of students taking the SAT, we have been able to maintain our achievement level and even improve it in our verbal results. As more of our students take advanced courses and the PSAT, I am confident our results will continue to improve."

While the number of SAT takers in Florida has increased dramatically, achievement has held steady. Long term, Florida's combined score is 11 points higher than it was 10 years ago when far fewer students took the exam. It is 5 points higher than it was 20 years ago. Florida's combined SAT score is 996, up one point from last year. The verbal score is up two points, while the math score is down one point.