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Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Illinois students again outperform nation on SAT, AP exams

Illinois high school students who take the SAT college-entrance examination continue to far outperform their peers throughout the nation, State Superintendent of Education Robert E. Schiller reported today.

Advanced Placement examination results for 2001-2002 also showed Illinois students outpacing the nation, Schiller said.

Mathematics scores for Illinois’ 2002 public and nonpublic high school graduates who took the SAT I averaged 80 points above the national average in 2002 and verbal scores were 74 points higher. In addition, student gains over the last five years and the last ten years were higher for Illinois students than any other state. The greatest improvements for the 2002 graduating class were recorded by Asians, blacks and American Indians.

The average SAT I verbal score for all public and nonpublic graduates tested was 578, up 2 points from 2001 and 16 from the 1997 average of 562; for mathematics the score increased 7 points to 596 from 589 in 2001 and 18 points from 578 in 1997.

About 68 % of students who took the SAT I were from public schools. Their verbal scores averaged 578, the same as the Illinois group overall. In mathematics, public school students averaged 605, exceeding overall state average by 9 points.

"While SAT and AP exams are taken by only a small percentage of Illinois students, the results clearly show that this group of students is meeting high achievement targets," Schiller said. "These students, their parents and their schools are setting the pace for our state and nation.”

About 11 percent of Illinois' high school students take the SAT, compared to the ACT that is now given to almost all public high school students as a part of the Prairie State Achievement Examination. Each of the SAT I tests is scored on an 800-point scale.

AP results lead nation
On Advanced Placement tests, scores of 4 or 5, the two highest scores, were achieved by 44 % of Illinois students compared to 36 % for students throughout the country. The most popular AP examination subjects for Illinois students in 2001-2002 were United States History; English Literature and Composition; and Calculus.

The State Board provides incentives for schools to increase participation on AP exams. In 2001, the State Board provided fee support for over 2000 students and in 2002 for over 3500 students. Data released today show strong increases in AP test participation for the last several years.

Almost 37,000 Illinois students took AP exams in the 2001-2002 school year, compared to under 33,000 in the previous year. There were 484 Illinois schools with students taking AP examinations in 2001-2002.

The College Board also administers the Advanced Placement tests taken by high school students, often for dual credit with higher education institutions.

Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777