While scores showed modest gains, a smaller percentage of Keller district seniors took the SAT in 2014 due to the increasing popularity of the ACT exam, officials said.
According to a report presented at the Dec. 16 board meeting, 1,407 students took the SAT in 2014, which represented 61 percent of the graduating class, a 2 percent drop from the previous year.
For the ACT, 1,093 students took the exam, or about 47 percent of seniors—a 3 percent increase.
When looking at the two college entrance exams combined, an additional 162 students took the tests compared to 2014. Since 2011, the number of students taking the exams increased by 785.
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“The increase in student participation also reflects our diverse population,” said Jeff Bradley, post-secondary administrative liaison. “We have more students taking both tests.”
KISD administrators said the ACT is more of a curriculum-based test covering all the core subjects while the SAT involves critical thinking with a heavier focus on verbal skills. High school counselors help students identify strengths in choosing the ACT or the SAT.
According to the ACT website, act.org, some 57 percent of high school graduates in 2014 had taken the ACT compared to 47 percent in 2010. Information from College Board, the organization that administers the SAT, indicates that the number of students taking the SAT in 2014 increased less than .1 percent from the previous year compared to 3 percent growth in participation in the ACT.
The ACT surpassed the SAT in sheer numbers of students taking the test in 2012. For 2014, 1.8 million took the ACT and 1.66 million the SAT.
SAT scores for 2014 for Keller district students remained steady at 496 for writing, rose 1 point to 518 in reading and increased 3 points in math to 534 compared to 2013. All three average KISD marks surpass state and national averages by 18 to 48 points in each subject.
During last month’s report, Superintendent Randy Reid said that educators are proud of the increasing number of KISD students taking the two college entrance exams, especially considering the rising population of low-income students.
Board President Jim Stitt asked if there were any cost hindrances for students taking the SAT or ACT.
Bradley said that economically disadvantaged students could get fee waivers or reductions.
Sandra Engelland, 817-431-2231