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Background on the SAT Takers in the Class of 2010

The class of 2010 included 1,597,329 college-bound students who took the SAT.

The nearly 1.6 million SAT takers in the graduating class of 2010 include all students who took the SAT at any point in high school, through June of their senior year. Traditionally, SAT trend data have been reported for all students who took the SAT at any point in high school through March of their senior year. This year, first-time senior test-takers in May and June, a group that has grown substantially in the last five years, were included to provide a more complete picture of the total college-bound population. In order to maintain consistency with prior-year trend data, the 2010 trend data featured in the tables and charts below include only students who met the traditional cohort definition of testing through the March of their senior year, a total of over 1.54 million students.

Clicking this link will display new content below it. Clicking it again will hide the content below it.Clicking this link will display new content below it. Clicking it again will hide the content below it.Comparison of March and June cohorts for 2009 and 2010

SAT Trend Reporting Transition

The 1,597,329 SAT takers in the graduating class of 2010 include all students who took the SAT through June 2010. The SAT college-bound seniors trend data have historically included students who took the SAT at any point in high school through March of their senior year, by which time almost all college-bound students had taken the test. Over the last five years, the College Board has observed a trend in which more students are taking the SAT for the first time in May or June of their senior year. This population of college-bound students has grown into a significant segment of nearly 50,000 students in the graduating class of 2010. The College Board believes it is important to acknowledge these students to truly complete the 2010 college-bound seniors cohort.

In order to provide a more complete view of the college-going population, the official 2010 college-bound seniors cohort of almost 1.6 million includes all students who tested through June of their senior year. To maintain consistency and reliability of year-over-year comparisons, the 2010 trend data details shown in this report continue to reflect information on the student population who tested through March of their senior year. Beginning in 2011, SAT college-bound trend reports, group profile reports and all state profile reports will include students who took the SAT at any point in high school through June of their senior year.

The table below provides score information for the student group through March and through June.

All Schools

2010

2009

Total Group

Students

Critical Reading

Mathematics

Writing

Students

Critical Reading

Mathematics

Writing

June Cohort

1,597,329

500

515

491

1,573,110

499

514

492

March Cohort

1,547,990

501

516

492

1,530,128

501

515

493

As the table shows, mean scores for the full-year group that includes May and June test-takers are marginally lower than the mean scores for the March group. This difference is driven by the fact that the population of "late-starting" test-takers has lower mean SAT scores than the March cohort test-takers.

The College Board, with the high school counseling community as its partner, will also be encouraging even more students to participate in the college planning process earlier in their high school careers in order to maximize available student choices.

The information in the charts and tables below is based on the number of students who responded to each corresponding question on the SAT Questionnaire, an optional questionnaire that most students complete when they register for the SAT.

Clicking this link will display new content below it. Clicking it again will hide the content below it.How Have College-Bound Seniors Changed in 10 years?

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Clicking this link will display new content below it. Clicking it again will hide the content below it.10-Year Trend in Critical Reading, Mathematics and Writing Mean Scores

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Clicking this link will display new content below it. Clicking it again will hide the content below it.2010 College-Bound Seniors by Race/Ethnicity

Clicking this link will display new content below it. Clicking it again will hide the content below it.SAT Critical Reading, Mathematics and Writing Mean Scores by Race/Ethnicity

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Clicking this link will display new content below it. Clicking it again will hide the content below it.Mean SAT Scores of College-Bound Seniors, 1972-2010

Clicking this link will display new content below it. Clicking it again will hide the content below it.Mean SAT Scores by State

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Click here to access all of the above tables and charts in PDF format. Requires Adobe Reader (latest version recommended).Links to pdfs will open in a new window or tab.

In the future, these and other SAT college-bound seniors trend reports will include May and June senior test-takers.

Using Aggregate SAT Scores

Visit Using Aggregate SAT Scores, to learn more about topics such as:

  • Contexts for using aggregate SAT scores
  • Cautions on comparing states and schools
  • Guidance for the proper use of SAT scores in admission by colleges and universities
  • Demonstration of the prevalence of changes in school and district SAT scores