Special Report

States Where Students Score the Highest on the SAT

The majority of four year colleges and universities in America – about 80% of them – no longer require applicants to submit SAT scores. Before the pandemic, nearly half of them had already adopted SAT-optional or -free admission policies. In 2020, 700 more institutions joined the list, partly due to the difficulty of administering the test during lockdowns. (With tests or not, these are the hardest colleges and universities to get into.)

The SAT or Scholastic Aptitude Test – which is divided into two parts, math and “evidence-based reading and writing” (basically English use and comprehension) – has been under fire for years anyway as a tool for college admission, as evidence has emerged of gender, racial, and socioeconomic biases in scoring. 

(Similar criticism has been leveled against the SAT’s competitor, the ACT – short for American College Testing – which tests students in English, mathematics, reading, and scientific reasoning. Here’s how high school students did on the ACT last year in every state.)

Even though the test is far less important today than it was decades ago and fewer students are taking it post-COVID, some 1.7 million high school seniors from the class of 2022 took the SAT at least once, with a mean score of 1050 out of a possible 1600. 

To compile a ranking showing how every state’s students scored on average last year on the SAT, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data provided by the College Board, the non-profit organization that developed and administers the SAT. The report presents data on students in the class of 2022 who took the SAT as high school students. Test takers are counted only once even if they took the test multiple times, and only their latest scores are summarized.

Click here to see how every state’s students score on the SAT

The states with the lowest scores are West Virginia, Oklahoma, Delaware, and Rhode Island, all with total scores under 975, while the states with the highest scores are Utah, Kansas, Wyoming, and Wisconsin, all with total scores over 1,230.  

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