FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 28, 2001
   

ILLINOIS STUDENTS SHOW GREAT IMPROVEMENT -- AGAIN -- ON SAT TEST

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today congratulated the state's high school seniors on their SAT college placement scores because Illinois' composite score showed the greatest improvement among the states over the last year.

Illinois' seniors scored a composite score of 576 on the verbal portion of the SAT, compared to the national average of 502. The composite math score for Illinois was 589, while the national average was 514.

In addition, Illinois public school students' scores on advanced placement tests were the best in the nation for the second year a row. Illinois' composite score was 3.25 on a scale of 0 to 5. The AP tests enable high school seniors to earn college credits.

The state's seniors improved Illinois' composite SAT verbal score by eight points over the 2000 scores and boosted the math score by three points. Nationally, the average SAT verbal score rose only one point and the average math score was unchanged from 2000.

"These results are further proof that we're on the right track in Illinois schools," Ryan said. "The state's SAT scores showed the greatest improvement among the 50 states in the last year, the last five years and in the last 10 years. Our goal is sustained excellence in our classrooms and to have all students graduate with the skills they need for a successful and fulfilling life."

Illinois' SAT scores for 2001 build on the good scores achieved by the state's seniors on the national ACT test and are a further indication that the state's increased investment in education is paying off with better-prepared and accomplished students.

Although the SAT is not taken by as many high school students as the ACT, the composite results of the SAT, ACT and AP tests nonetheless provide parents, teachers, colleges and students with a strong measurement of success in Illinois classrooms.

"I am extremely proud that our public school students' Advanced Placement scores top the nation again," said State School Superintendent Glenn W. McGee. "Starting this fall, even more of our high school seniors from all parts of the state can take advantage of AP courses to get a jump-start on college."

Also encouraging is the fact that the composite SAT scores among the state's public school students are higher than the statewide composite for all students. Public school students scored 578 on the verbal test and 599 on the math portion of the test.

Earlier this month, Illinois recorded a 21.6 composite score on the ACT test, the fifth straight year that students beat the national average of 21. Illinois also led the states with the largest percentage of students who recorded a perfect score of 36 on the ACT.

Since taking office in 1999, Ryan has made education his top priority. In each of the last three state budgets, he has earmarked 51 percent of the state's new revenues to schools and job training - an increase of $1.4 billion in state support, or $700 in new funding for every public school child in Illinois.

In addition, the governor has focused more than $64 million in new funds on reading and study programs for the state's youngest students, helped school districts hire more than 9,000 new teachers, earmarked more than $190 million for classroom technology and is funding the construction of 9,500 new classrooms.