The College Board recently released performance results from the SAT for the class of 2018. According to the College Board, the mean total scores for 2018 graduates who took the SAT was 1068, a slight increase over last year’s class average of 1060. For the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section (ERW), the mean score was 536, whereas last year’s was 533. The Math section score was 531, just above 2017’s 527.

Private School Data

According to data provided to CAPE by the College Board, results varied significantly by the type of school students attended, with college-bound seniors in religious and independent schools scoring substantially higher than the national average. Specifically, the average combined score of students in independent schools was 1188, or 120 points above the national mean, while the average for religious school students was 1153, which was 85 points above the mean. Public school students scored 1049, 19 points below the mean. The scores make clear that students in private schools help lift the national average.

In each of the subjects tested, SAT scores for college-bound seniors in religious and independent schools were also substantially higher than the national average. Mean SAT scores for students in public schools were 529 in ERW and 520 in math, while comparable scores for students in religious schools were 581 and 572. Students in independent schools had an average ERW score of 580 and an average math score of 608.

Benchmarks

The College Board calculates benchmarks for both the ERW and math sections of the assessment. The math benchmark (530) is said to be “associated with a 75% chance of earning at least a C in first-semester, credit-bearing, college-level courses in algebra, statistics, precalculus, or calculus.” The ERW benchmark (480) is associated “with a 75% chance of earning at least a C in first-semester, credit-bearing, college-level courses in history, literature, social science, or writing.”

For the class of 2018, 47 percent of students who took the SAT met or surpassed the benchmarks in both sections of the assessment. But again, percentages varied by type of school. For public school students, the share of students who met or exceeded both benchmarks was 44 percent; for religious school students, it was 63 percent, and for independent school students, it was 70 percent.

With respect to the ERW, 68 percent of public school students met the benchmark, 87 percent of religious school students, and 83 percent of independent school students. For the math benchmark it was 46 percent of public school students, 65 percent of religious school students, and 74 percent of independent school students.

According to the College Board, “More than 2.1 million students in the class of 2018 took the redesigned SAT, an increase of 25 percent over the class of 2017,” which represents “the largest number of students in a graduating class to take the SAT.”

SAT Performance Relative to National Mean

SAT Scores – Class of 2018

SchoolsERWMathTotals
Independent5806081188
Religious5815721153
Public5295201049
National Mean5365311068