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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 26, 2003

Illinois college-bound seniors continue to outperform nation on SAT, AP exams

Illinois high school students who took the SAT college-entrance examination and its Advanced Placement tests outperformed their counterparts throughout the nation, State Superintendent of Education Robert E. Schiller reported today.

"These Illinois college-bound seniors, their parents and schools are to be commended,” Schiller said. "It is clear they set the standard for the rest of the state and their peers around the country.”

On Advanced Placement tests, scores of 4 or 5, the two highest scores, were achieved by 44 per cent of Illinois students, compared to 34 per cent for students throughout the country. The most frequently-taken AP examination subjects for Illinois students in 2002-2003 were United States History, English Literature and Composition, and Calculus.

The State Board provides incentives for schools to increase participation on AP exams. In addition, many Illinois schools, including small, rural schools, can now access AP courses for their students through the Illinois Virtual High School.

Data released today by SAT show strong increases in AP test participation in Illinois. The number of Illinois students taking AP tests increased to more than 69,500 in 2002-03 from 37,000 in the 2001-2002 school year. The average AP score was 3.26 on a scoring range of 1-5. Slightly more than 72 per cent of Illinois tests were scored higher than 3 per cent.

Mathematics scores for Illinois’ 2003 public and nonpublic high school graduates who took the SAT I averaged 77 points above the national average in 2003 and verbal scores were 76 points higher. In addition, student gains over the last ten years were higher for Illinois students than any other state. Scores are 33 points higher for verbal and 38 points higher for math than in 1993.

The average SAT I verbal score for all public and nonpublic graduates tested was 583, up 5 points from 2002 and 33 from the 1993 average of 550; for mathematics, public school students average 608, exceeding the overall state average by 12 points.

About 73 per cent of students who took the SAT I were from public schools. Their verbal scores averaged 586, three points higher than the total group. In mathematics, public school students averaged 608, exceeding the overall state average by 12 points.

About 11 per cent 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.

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