2016 SAT Scores Were the Lowest in the Last 20 Years

May 30, 2017, 07:22 PM

Thanks to Fundamental Flaws in Changes to the Test Itself, but The College Board is Pressing Ahead With Them Anyway.

2016 was not a good year for the average SAT® exam taker, with scores in reading hitting an all-time low of 494, writing scores hitting their all-time low of 482, and math scores coming in at 508, which is the lowest average in the last 20 years.

Even more concerning is the fact that many test takers, along with some of the makers of the exam, discovered that there is a serious flaw with the mathematics portion of the SAT®. In 2014, The College Board, the company in charge of developing the test, decided to make major structural changes to the math section, shifting to more “real world” scenarios. The addition of these word-based math problems took longer for students good at math to complete, and far longer for those who struggle with English to finish, if they finished at all.

Though there are still traditional “solve for x” and numeric questions, the word problems are likely dragging down the math score for anyone with a learning disability (diagnosed or not) as well as those who speak English as a second language. For a test that claims to be an excellent indicator of analytical skill and knowledge, this is a major problem.

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the entire situation is that the developers of the test knew that there was a problem, yet decided to do nothing about it. Whether this was an oversight or if there is something else going on, the fact remains that the SAT® has become a more difficult test, requiring more preparation and a solid strategy going into it in order to obtain the best score.

2017 SAT® statistics have yet to come out, but it seems likely that unless there were major changes made to the test for this year, scores will likely be well-below what they have been historically. 


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Chris on June 08 2017 at 10:55AM

Thanks for info! I’ll keep it in mind as I research and plan for my daughter to take the SAT soon

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