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SAT Scores by State

The SAT is a standardized test widely used for college admissions. The SAT was originally called the Scholastic Aptitude Test and was later called the Scholastic Assessment Test. The exam is owned, developed, and published by the College Board. The exam was started in 1926 and has been used for 94 years for admissions to colleges and universities' undergraduate programs.

The SAT comprises three parts: Mathematics, Critical Reading and Writing, and an optional SAT Essay section. The exam takes about three hours to complete plus 50 minutes for the essay. As of 2019, the SAT costs $49.50 ($64.50 with the essay). Additional fees may be charged for late registration and if the exam is taken outside of the U.S. Fees can be as high as US$101.50.

The Mathematics and Critical Reading and Writing sections are scored on a scale of 200 to 800 points, combining to give a total score of 400 to 1600. Essays are scored on a scale of 2-8 on each of three criteria, totaling a score between 6 and 24.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many SATs were canceled for thousands of students, and future SATs will have very limited capacity to meet social distancing guidelines. Additionally, college admissions are trying to be as flexible as possible for students who have had their exams canceled.

In addition to college admissions, SAT scores can compare school districts' performance and evaluate state educational programs. Several factors affect SAT scores. These include:

  • Educational achievement levels: instruction and institutional factors, such as teacher-to-student ratios, affect how students perform in school and on the SAT.
  • Cultural factors: race, ethnicity, and culture can impact test scores for a few reasons, such as the attitude and lower expectations of minority group test-takers.
  • Socioeconomic status: socioeconomic status can affect a student's regular attendance in school and the ability to buy practice and study materials for the SAT.
  • Psychological factors: cognitive development factors (such as long-term memory) can impact one's ability to learn and retain information, while psychological disorders, such as anxiety or ADHD, could hinder one's ability to perform well.

SAT Scores by State

According to the College Board, the average SAT score in 2020 was 1051.

Participation rates ranged from 2% in North Dakota to 100% in eight states: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Michigan, and Rhode Island. Lower participation rates in some states can be for a few reasons, including that more students may opt to take the ACT and that only the highest-performing, most prepared students take the SAT.

Because cultural and socioeconomic factors and the quality of schools vary greatly between districts and states, average SAT scores vary greatly.

The following ten states had the highest SAT scores:

  1. Minnesota - 1257
  2. Wisconsin - 1243
  3. Kansas - 1237
  4. North Dakota - 1231
  5. Nebraska - 1229
  6. Iowa - 1220
  7. Wyoming - 1220
  8. South Dakota - 1218
  9. Missouri - 1212
  10. Kentucky - 1207

Minnesota has the highest SAT score of 1257, 206 points above the national average. Outside the top ten, highest-scoring states include Missouri, Kentucky, and Utah, which all have scores over 1200. These states have participation rates between 2% and 4%, most likely indicating that only the highest-performing students took the SAT in 2020.

The following ten states had the lowest SAT scores:

  1. West Virginia - 936
  2. Oklahoma - 971
  3. Delaware - 978
  4. Idaho - 984
  5. District of Columbia - 989
  6. Rhode Island - 990
  7. Florida - 992
  8. Maine - 995
  9. Michigan - 998
  10. Illinois - 1007

Participation rates were much higher among these states, with most states having 98% or 100% participation, except for Oklahoma, which had 20%.

Here are the 10 states with the highest SAT scores:

  1. Minnesota (1,295)
  2. Wisconsin (1,291)
  3. Iowa (1,276)
  4. Missouri (1,271)
  5. Kansas (1,260)
  6. North Dakota (1,256)
  7. Nebraska (1,254)
  8. Kentucky (1,247)
  9. Mississippi (1,241)
  10. Utah (1,238)

SAT Scores by State

State Average SAT score Average Score, Reading Average Score, Math
Minnesota1,295644651
Wisconsin1,291642649
Iowa1,276641635
Missouri1,271640631
Kansas1,260632628
North Dakota1,256635621
Nebraska1,254629625
Kentucky1,247631616
Mississippi1,241634607
Utah1,238624614
Wyoming1,230626604
Tennessee1,227623604
South Dakota1,215612603
Arkansas1,208614594
Colorado1,201606595
Louisiana1,197611586
Montana1,196605591
Alabama1,165593572
Ohio1,148578570
New Mexico1,118557561
Nevada1,116563553
Arizona1,116563553
Illinois1,115559556
Vermont1,113562551
Oregon1,108560548
Massachusetts1,106555551
Virginia1,102561541
Alaska1,100547553
West Virginia1,086558528
Hawaii1,085544541
North Carolina1,081546535
Washington1,075541534
Indiana1,074542532
Pennsylvania1,071540531
South Carolina1,064543521
Rhode Island1,063539524
Maryland1,060536524
New Jersey1,056530526
California1,055531524
New Hampshire1,052532520
New York1,051528523
Georgia1,050535515
Oklahoma1,047530517
Connecticut1,042530512
Texas1,020513507
Florida1,017520497
Maine1,012513499
Idaho1,006513493
Michigan1,004509495
Delaware995503492

SAT Scores by State