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Understanding the Data

Additional Data

Additional research and archived materials can be found in Program Research.

Administration Data

This refers to the results from a single administration of an assessment or exam. This report includes three sets of administration data for the PSAT/NMSQT, which includes all of the test-takers in October 2010, 2013, and 2014. It also includes administration data for AP from May 2011, 2014, and 2015.

AP Potential

This free, Web-based tool allows schools to generate rosters of students who are likely to score a 3 or higher on a given AP Exam. Based on research that shows moderate to strong correlations between PSAT/NMSQT scores and AP Exam results, AP Potential™ is designed to help schools increase access to AP and to ensure that no student who has the chance of succeeding in AP is overlooked.

Cohort Data

This report also includes SAT results from the classes of 2011, 2014, and 2015, reflecting the most recent results those graduating students attained over the course of their high school career.

Calculating Rates

In order to calculate participation rates for the PSAT/NMSQT and SAT, a denominator had to be established. These are based on the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) grade-level enrollment and graduate projections, respectively.Footnote 4 WICHE has been producing high school graduate forecasts for over 30 years, for use by a wide and diverse audience of policymakers, enrollment managers, college counselors, schools and school districts, researchers, and the media.

The SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmark

The SAT Benchmark score of 1550 is associated with a 65% probability of obtaining a first-year GPA of B- or higher at a four-year college. It indicates a student’s readiness to enter college or career-training programs and to succeed in credit-bearing, entry-level college courses.

PSAT/NMSQT Benchmark

On the PSAT/NMSQT, benchmarks are section scores that students should meet or exceed to be considered on track to be college ready. These section scores in 10th or 11th grade predict, with a 65% probability, a first-year college GPA of 2.67 (B-) or higher. PSAT/NMSQT score reports are sent to schools and can help students and educators to understand how the students are doing relative to their path to college.

Next Year

With the introduction of the redesigned SAT Suite of Assessments, we will have new and different ways to track and monitor student progress. We will be able to report these data beginning with the 2016 College Board Program Results. It is important to note that all scores from the SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT 10, and PSAT 8/9 will be reported on a common scale so that students, families, and educators can easily track year-by-year progress of individuals, cohorts, and groups. We will also be updating the AP Potential tool to incorporate AP Potential data based on students’ PSAT 8/9, PSAT 10, and SAT results.

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About the Data


Return to footnote 4 referrer.