Elisabeth Harrison

Participation in SAT testing rose 1 percent for the class of 2016, with a record 6,303 students taking the test required for admission at many colleges. But average scores dropped by two points in reading and three points in Math, according to state education officials.

While the drop in scores was consistent with a nationwide trend, Rhode Island scores were below the national average. Local students scored 16 points below average in Math and nine points below average in reading. Writing scores were seven points lower than the national average.

Average SAT scores are in for the class of 2014.

The good news is Rhode Island's average improved by 5 points in both reading and mathematics. The State Department of Education says this is the first time scores have improved significantly since 2009.

More than 6,000 public school students took the SAT in the 2013-2014 school year, scoring an average of 484 in mathematics and 483 in critical reading.

The University of Rhode Island says it has no immediate plans to stop using the SAT as a requirement for admission, despite criticism that has led to an overhaul of the test.

SAT testing company The College Board has unveiled a series of changes taking effect in 2016, which include fewer obscure vocabulary words and making the essay section optional.

URI Director of Admissions Cynthia Bonn tells Rhode Island Public Radio that her team rarely ever looks at the essay section of the test as it is, but she thinks the other changes will be helpful.

The New SAT

Mar 6, 2014

The College Board has announced changes to the SAT, a test many high school students have suffered through on their way to college acceptance.

Critics of the test, and there are many, say it is an unreliable predictor of student performance in college, and some colleges, including Salve Regina University in Newport and Bryant University in Smithfield, have stopped requiring SAT scores from their applicants.