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Hawaii students improve SAT scores


The average SAT scores of college-bound Hawaii students nudged up this year, but still lag behind the national average, according to results released this week.

Compared with 2009, Hawaii’s average scores increased 3 points in mathematics, 4 points in critical reading and 1 point in writing.

Nationally, average scores remained relatively unchanged.

Some 59 percent of Hawaii’s class of 2010, or 8,068 students, took the college entrance exam. Participation among public school students in the islands dropped by about 3 percent, to 4,733.

The SAT average scores for college-bound Hawaii students were:

» 505 in mathematics (out of a maximum of 800), compared with 516 nationally.

» 483 in critical reading, compared with 501 nationally.

» 470 in writing, compared with 492 nationally.

Meanwhile, Hawaii public school students in general also saw gains, but continued to perform behind their peers on the mainland.

On average, they scored 479 in math (up 5 points from 2009), 460 in reading (up from 454) and 442 in writing (up 1 point).

Public school students in general nationally averaged 511 in math, 498 in reading and 488 in writing.

Anna Viggiano, an education specialist with the Department of Education’s gifted and talented program, said the gains among Hawaii students are encouraging and reflect increases in the number of students taking the practice SAT in their sophomore year.

In 2008 and last year, all sophomores in public high schools statewide took the PSAT as part of a program funded by the Legislature. Funding for the program was cut for this year.

Viggiano said Hawaii students who took the PSAT did better on the SAT.

The DOE is working to increase the number of students who take the PSAT — and, eventually, the SAT — as part of an effort to boost the number of students who go to college.

The SAT remains the most common college entrance exam, though the rival ACT has nearly caught up in popularity.

Meanwhile, though boys still do better on the SAT locally and nationally, girls are making gains.

This year, the average score for Hawaii girls in public schools rose 10 points in math, to 468. Boys scored 492 on average.

And girls did better in writing, scoring 448 on average, compared with 434 for boys.


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