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Trends in SAT Scores and Other Characteristics of Examinees Planning to Major in Mathematics, Science, or Engineering SAT

Grandy, Jerilee E.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
National Science Foundation (NSF), Aptitude Tests, College Entrance Examinations, Engineers, Majors (Students), Mathematicians, Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), Scientists, Student Characteristics


This study analyzed data from the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) taken by high school seniors between 1977 and 1988. Its purpose was to study trends in the numbers, test scores, and other characteristics of examinees planning to major in math, science, or engineering, and to compare these data with comparable data from examinees planning to major in other fields. Among major findings, it was determined that between 1977 and 1988, the percentage of examinees who planned to major in math, science, or engineering increased from 24% to 29% of the examinee population. In recent years, the numbers planning to major in psychology and in the social sciences have shown especially large increases. Among students planning to major in math, science, or engineering, the mean Verbal score declined until 1983, rose slightly in the next two years, and declined 5 points between 1985 and 1988. The mean Mathematics score declined until 1981, increased until 1985, and declined thereafter. Between 1987 and 1988, the mean Mathematics score dropped 6 points. (233pp.)

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