Oklahoma Closing Achievement Gap for Minorities in AP and SAT Scores


Participation on the SAT among minority students in Oklahoma has increased significantly over the past five years. At the same time, Oklahoma students continue to post SAT scores that are higher than the national average across all subgroups.

Representatives from College Board’s Southwestern Regional Office delivered the SAT and other test scores to the State Department of Education in a recent meeting.

The results show that SAT participation by American Indian students has increased 9.6 percent since 2012 and 22.6 percent since 2009. African-American student participation grew by 2.5 percent since 2012 but since 2009 it has increased by 36.7 percent, while participation by Hispanic students increased 5.5 percent since 2012 and 10 percent from 2009.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma’s mean scores continue to exceed the national mean scores across all sub-groups, with 569 in critical reading vs. 491 nationally; 565 in mathematics vs. 503 nationally; and 544 in writing vs. 480 nationally. Math scores were up one percentage point and writing scores up two percentage points with no change in critical reading scores from 2012.

“I’m encouraged by these results. It is a goal of mine to close the achievement gap that exists in Oklahoma’s minority student population,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi said. “These participation rates and scores show that we are achieving this goal. These numbers also indicate that our students who take the SAT are being better prepared in Oklahoma schools for the rigors of college and career.”

The College Board also gathers information on students engaged in Advanced Placement course work. Oklahoma saw an increase in the number of students taking Advanced Placement courses and scoring 3 or better on AP exams during the 2012-2013 school year. Similar results exist among the state’s minority students. A score of 3 or better on an AP exams qualifies a student for college credit while still in high school.

Overall participation in AP in Oklahoma is up 4.4 percent and performance is up 3.9 percent. Participation among American Indian students is up 7.5 percent while those scoring 3 to 5 on exams is up 12.6 percent. Participation among Asian students is up by 6.6 percent with performance up 12.9 percent. African-American student participation also is up by 13.5 percent with 26.7 percent more students achieving a score of 3 to 5 over one year ago. Hispanic student participation is up 32.1 percent with 18 percent showing improved performance over the 2012 scores.

Superintendent Barresi said, “It is a challenge to close these achievement gaps but due to our work in Oklahoma schools with the AVID program and our partnership with the National Math and Science Initiative, we have made great progress in the last few years. I congratulate all Oklahoma students and teachers who have worked hard to improve achievement on these exams” Both the AVID program and NMSI Initiative promote increased student participation in AP coursework.

Also, of significance is that during the past school year participation on the PSAT/NMSQT among sophomores increased by almost 44 percent, overall. An impressive increase in participation among sophomore minority students also was reported, with an increase of 34.8 percent among American Indian students, 29.4 percent among Asian students, 65.7 percent among African-American students and 83.8 percent among Hispanic students.

The PSAT/MMSQT predicts how sophomores and juniors are expected to score on the SAT and determines National Merit Scholarship eligibility. The PSAT also shows AP Potential, a student’s likelihood to achieve success in an AP course.

College Board representatives said the increase in students taking this test should reflect in better college admission scores and show an increase in the number of students taking Advanced Placement courses.

The representatives said fee waivers exist for qualifying students taking the SAT and PSAT. Parents should check with counselors at their local schools to determine eligibility for a fee waiver.

In closing, Barresi said it is imperative that more students have access to Advanced Placement coursework and exams as this is the best way to ensure high school graduates are prepared for college, workforce training or a career.

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Last updated on October 1, 2013