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University Entrance Exams (ACT and SAT)

Description: 

This indicator includes SAT and ACT university entrance exam scores of Arizona high school students. Students applying for public university admission in Arizona may submit entrance exam test scores from either or both of the tests. This indicator is an estimate of the SAT scores and ACT scores of students entering Arizona’s three state universities. The estimates are the average of the scores at the 25th and 75th percentiles as the National Center for Education Statistics does not report a mean or median score.

In 2005, SAT (formerly the Scholastic Aptitude Test and Scholastic Assessment Test) was renamed by its developer, the College Board, the “SAT Reasoning Test.” It has possible scores from 600 to 2400, combining test results from three 800-point sections (math, critical reading, and writing), along with other subsections scored separately. Historically, the SAT test consisted of two parts: critical reading and mathematics.

The ACT test is scored on a 1 to 36 scale. The ACT test historically consisted of four tests: English, math, reading, and science reasoning. In February 2005, an optional writing test was added to the ACT, mirroring changes to the SAT. The SAT and ACT scores for Arizona and the United States are presented from 1998 through 2007. In addition, the percentage of students taking each test is calculated from enrollment figures of 12th grade students on October 1. Since some students take SAT and ACT exams prior to the 12th grade and the exams are given on various dates, the October 1 enrollment number serves as a proxy for the potential number of students who could take a university entrance exam.

Data Quality Comments: 

As noted above, the percentage of students taking an entrance exam is based on proxy enrollment figures. In Arizona, those students considering applying to universities typically take these exams. In fact, Arizona’s three state universities do not require the SAT or ACT for admission. In some states, however, these tests are either mandated of all students or are taken by a very high proportion of students.

As a result, the percentage of students taking the SAT test in Arizona in 2006 was barely more than half the national average; the proportion taking the ACT was considerably less than half. Two-thirds of the test takers in Arizona ranked in the top 20 percent of their class, versus only 56 percent nationally. Thus, Arizona’s higher scores relative to the national average in part reflect the more selective nature of Arizona test takers in comparison to the national norm.

Note: In 2006, the SAT format was changed to include an 800 point writing section. The point total is now out of 2400.

iconSAT Mean Scores

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iconACT Composite Score

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iconACT Scores by Subject

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iconSAT Test-Taking as a Percent of 12th Grade Enrollment

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iconACT Test-Taking as a Percent of 12th Grade Enrollment

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