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Press Release

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Record Number of Florida Students Take SAT and AP Exams

~ Florida’s minority SAT and AP exam-takers outperform their national counterparts ~

TALLAHASSEE – Nearly 100,000 Florida students took the SAT this year, the most ever according to the 2008 SAT results released today by the College Board. In addition to record participation levels, the results also indicate that Florida’s Hispanic and African-American students outscored their national counterparts on the reading and mathematics sections of the SAT by 37 points (953 combined score) and five points (861 combined score), respectively.

“These results are a strong indication that more Florida students are setting themselves on a path to a postsecondary education,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith. “While I am highly encouraged by this trend, we must continue to emphasize the need for increased access to rigorous coursework to ensure that our students are prepared for the challenges ahead.”

The SAT consists of three major exam sections including reading, mathematics, and writing. Each section receives a score on the scale of 200–800. Traditionally, state and national averages are reported using a combined score of the reading and mathematics sections only. Even with increased student participation, Florida’s average combined reading and math SAT score remained the same as last year at 993. For individual exam sections, Florida’s average score was up two points in writing (481), up one point in mathematics (497) and down one point in reading (496) compared to 2007.

The SAT is a voluntary college entrance exam, and scores from the test can be used for admission to a state university, the Talented 20 program, for meeting qualifications in the Bright Futures Scholarship Program or for placement into regular college courses. Students may access information about the SAT and other college entrance exams through Florida's online student advising system, the Florida Academic Counseling and Tracking for Students at www.FACTS.org.

Florida’s AP Participation and Performance

The College Board also released Advanced Placement (AP) results, and for the third year in a row, Florida had the greatest one-year increase in the number of public school AP exam-takers (increase of 14,151 exam-takers for a total of 117,698) when compared to all other states. Increases in Florida AP exam takers were highest among minority students. According to the College Board, Florida had the greatest one-year increase (30 percent) in the number of African-American public school AP exam takers when compared to all other states and the third greatest increase (14 percent) in the number of Hispanic exam takers.

Florida students also performed well on AP exams. Florida had the third greatest increase (5.9 percent) in the number of students passing (receiving grades of 3-5) AP exams when compared to all other states from 2007 to 2008. Nationwide, one out of every eight African-American AP exam-takers, and one out of every seven Hispanic AP exam-takers awarded a passing grade or higher was from a public high school in Florida.

For more details on Florida’s performance on the SAT and AP, visit www.fldoe.org/evaluation.