Monday | April 27, 2015
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Hawaii SAT scores trail national average

Students in Hawaii continue to underperform on the SAT compared to the national average, according to scores released Thursday by the College Board.

Despite coming in below the national average, Hawaii students showed slight signs of improvement over their scores from 2012, while nationwide averages showed no change.

Hawaii students who took the SAT through June 2013 earned an average of 1453 out of 2400 on the exam, compared to a nationwide average of 1498.

Scores for individual counties or islands were not available Thursday, according to representatives from the Hawaii Department of Education. The department was not able to provide an immediate response to the College Board’s release of the data or speak about Hawaii students’ performance without first giving the data a thorough look, said spokesman Alex Da Silva.

Hawaii Island complex area superintendents Mary Correa and Arthur Souza, representing the Ka‘u-Keaau-Pahoa and Honokaa-Kealakehe-Kohala-Konawaena complexes, respectively, were not in their offices Thursday afternoon to provide responses, according to secretaries who answered their phones. Hilo-Waiakea Superintendent Valerie Takata’s secretary took a message, but Takata did not respond by press time.

Over the past seven years, student scores nationwide have slowly dipped, dropping from 1511 in 2007. Scores in Hawaii have fallen from 1463 since 2007.

In a release issued Thursday, the College Board called the nationwide results a “call to action.”

“With our country struggling to compete in a global marketplace and millions of skilled jobs left unfilled here at home, it is essential to ensure that our students are prepared for college and careers,” the release reads.

Despite that necessity, the release states, only 43 percent of SAT takers in the class of 2013 across the nation graduated from high school academically prepared “for the rigors of college-level course work. This number has remained virtually unchanged during the last five years.”

“While some might see stagnant scores as no news, we at the College Board consider it a call to action,” said College Board President David Coleman. “We must dramatically increase the number of students in K-12 who are prepared for college and careers. Only by transforming the daily work that students do can we achieve excellence and equity. The College Board will do everything it can to make sure students have access to opportunity, including rigorous course work.”

In Thursday’s release, the College Board identified a score of 1550 as a benchmark, associating it with a 65 percent probability of obtaining a first-year grade point average of B-minus or higher, which is in turn associated with a high likelihood of college success.

A total of 8,590 test-takers were counted in Hawaii, while more than 1.66 million took the test nationwide.

Email Colin M. Stewart at cstewart@hawaiitribune-herald.com.