Class of 2014: Worst math SAT scores since 2000; worst writing ever

The high school class of 2014 turned in the lowest math scores on the SAT college-entrance exam since 2000 and the worst results to date in writing, as the test loses ground to rival ACT.

The SAT is in the midst of a redesign to make the test more relevant. The new exam, to be offered in March 2016, will dispense with esoteric words, won’t deduct points for incorrect answers and will make the essay section optional. Almost 175,000 more students took the ACT, owned by ACT Inc. of Iowa City, Iowa, than the College Board’s SAT.

“Offering the same old test in the face of lasting problems is just not good enough,” David Coleman, president and chief executive officer of the New York-based College Board, said in a statement.

Here are the state-by-state results.

Fewer than half, or 42.6 percent, of SAT takers met benchmarks to show they are prepared for college-level work, compared with 42.7 percent last year.

“Flat and stagnant would be the words that we would use,” Cyndie Schmeiser, chief of assessment at the College Board, said in a call with reporters.

While the average reading score, 497, went up by a point from last year, math dipped by a point to 513 and writing is the lowest ever at 487. The class of 2006 was the first to take the writing section and scored an all-time high of 497.

The number of SAT test takers in the class of 2014 was 1.67 million, up less than a percent from last year, compared with a 2.6 percent increase to 1.85 million for the ACT. The ACT numbers are likely to rise over at least the next two years, as more states decide to fund it during the school day.

In the class of 2014, 10 states required and paid for their public school students to take the ACT when they were juniors. Two states were added for the Class of 2015 and six more will be added this year and will be reflected in the class of 2016 report, according to Ed Colby, a spokesman.

Illinois and Arkansas also pay for the test for school districts that approve it.

The College Board is working to encourage districts to make the SAT available during the school day, Schmeiser said. Currently three states, Maine, Delaware and Idaho, and the District of Columbia pay for students to take the SAT.