Average SAT Scores by State (Most Recent)

 

Every year, approximately over a million students across the country, take the SAT. So, how do SAT scores differ by state? How do you compare to other test takers in your state? Finally, some exciting state facts, such as the state with the highest SAT score? What is the lowest SAT score? Which country has the highest rate of participation?

It’s the SAT version of the battle of the states.

What Is the National SAT Average?

First, let’s go into the SAT scoring system, followed by the current national average SAT score. Then we’ll dive into the average SAT scores by state.

As you are probably aware, the SAT is divided into three sections: Reading, Writing and Language (also known as Writing), and Math. The Math section is graded on a scale of 200-800, and the Reading and Writing sections are combined to give you an Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) score of 200-800.

When these two sections are added together, we get a total SAT score of 400-1600, with 1600 being a perfect score.

Now that we’ve established this let’s look at the national average SAT score. The College Board reported these average SAT scores in 2020:

  • Total: 1051
  • Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW): 528
  • Math: 523

As you can see, the average EBRW and Math scores are pretty close. These are then added together to yield a total SAT average score roughly halfway through the total score range (400-1600).

But what are the national average SAT scores? Continue reading to learn about some exciting trends and see which states hold notable top spots!

State SAT Awards

We will begin with the states that have received our “State SAT Awards.”

These are classified as follows:

  • Highest SAT Score
  • Highest SAT Score With Over 20% Participation
  • Team Players (100% Participation)
  • Lowest SAT Score
  • Most Variation Between SAT Sections

The information below is taken from the College Board’s 2020 SAT state reports.

Highest Score: Minnesota (SAT Score: 1257)

Minnesota takes the cake for the highest average SAT score with 1257.

This is an increase of 206 points over the national average! But wait—at 4%, Minnesota has a lower test participation rate than 75% of the rest of the country. In other words, only 2,601 2020 graduating seniors took the SAT.

Because the ACT is taken by a greater number of students in Minnesota than the SAT, Minnesota’s high average SAT score most likely indicates that only the most prepared and ambitious high school students take the SAT.

These students tend to outperform the state average in terms of test scores. But what if we look at states with a high participation rate, that is, states where more than twenty percent of students take the SAT? The winner of that SAT prize is…

Arizona had the highest participation rate of more than 20%. (SAT Score: 1139, with 29% Participation)

This is an outstanding achievement! With over 19,500 students in the class of 2020 taking the SAT in Arizona, the state outperforms the national average.

Team Players (100% Participation): Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, DC, Florida, Idaho, Michigan, and Rhode Island


Every student in Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, DC, Florida, Idaho, Michigan, and Rhode Island took the SAT.
This usually means that all high school students in these states must take the SAT as part of their regular high school testing.

During the 2019-2020 school year, four other states—Illinois, Maine, New Hampshire, and West Virginia—offered the SAT statewide.

However, because the College Board did not accurately count the number of seniors in those states, or because the test was not mandatory for all students in these states for the entire school year, participation rates in these states are less than 100%.

Florida has the highest non-mandatory testing participation rate, at 100 per cent.

Lowest Score: West Virginia (SAT Score: 936)


West Virginia underperforms the national average by more than one hundred points. Other states with statewide SAT testing Oklahoma and the US Virgin Islands rank near the bottom. Based on the data, it’s reasonable to conclude that statewide testing results in lower scores because it includes all seniors, not just those who plan to apply to college.


The lowest SAT score for a non-mandatory state is 971 in Oklahoma.

It is not common in a state where the SAT is taken by 20% of graduating seniors. Nevada (17 percent participation), Ohio (21% participation), and New Mexico (19% participation) all have average SAT scores of 1050 or higher.

The most likely cause of this low score is a decrease in the number and percentage of students taking the SAT in 2019 and 2020 compared to other years.

Only 8% of Oklahoma students in the 2018 graduating class (3,337 students) took the SAT, with an average SAT score of 1062. Compared to 22 percent of the class of 2019 (9,272 students) and 20 percent of the class of 2020 (8,471), this means that nearly two-and-a-half times as many graduating took the SAT as in 2018.

Other states saw significant changes in the %  of students taking the SAT between 2017-2018 & 2018-2019, most notably West Virginia (which jumped from 28 percent participation in 2017-2018 to 99 percent participation in 2018-2019), so increased SAT participation in Oklahoma isn’t the only explanation for the low average SAT score.

While it’s difficult to say for certain without more data, the most likely reason Oklahoma’s average SAT scores are slightly higher than West Virginia’s is student preparedness.

The SAT is required for all juniors in West Virginia, which explains why such a high percentage of students took it (except those taking the West Virginia Alternative Summer Assessment). Because it is a statewide exam, specific SAT preparation will likely be done within schools (particularly since it might affect school and district standing and funding).

In contrast, while each school district in Oklahoma chooses to administer the SAT or the ACT, there is no statewide mandate to spend time in classrooms preparing for the SAT.

Most Variation Between Sections: Florida (512 Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, 479 Math)

Florida has the most significant difference between SAT section scores of any state, with a participation rate of 100 percent. Florida students outperform the national average in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) by 33 points.

Students in the US Virgin Islands score an average of 37 points higher on EBRW than on Math, but given that there were only 676 students in the class of 2020 who took the SAT there, such variation is less surprising than in Florida (where a whopping 186,321 students in the class of 2020 took the SAT).

All Average State SAT Scores in One Place

The most recent average SAT scores for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands are shown below. Find your region below and see how your SAT score compares to the average for your area!


State

Participation Rate

EBRW

Math

Total

Alabama
7% 576 551
1127

Alaska
37% 555 543
1098

Arizona
29% 571 568
1139

Arkansas
4% 590 567
1157

California
67% 527 522
1049

Colorado
100% 511 501
1012

Connecticut
100% 527 512
1039

Delaware
100% 497 481
978

District of Columbia
100% 498 482
979

Florida
100% 512 479
992

Georgia
68% 537 516
1053

Hawaii
51% 549 546
1095

Idaho
100% 500 484
984

Illinois
98% 504 503
1007

Indiana
64% 540 534
1074

Iowa
3% 611 609
1220

Kansas
4% 617 620
1237

Kentucky
4% 609 598
1207

Louisiana
5% 597 573
1170

Maine
98% 504 491
995

Maryland
88% 522 507
1029

Massachusetts
80% 560 559
1119

Michigan
100% 503 495
998

Minnesota
4% 624 633
1257

Mississippi
3% 610 593
1203

Missouri
4% 610 603
1212

Montana
10% 598 587
1185

Nebraska
3% 615 614
1229

Nevada
17% 579 571
1150

New Hampshire
93% 531 524
1055

New Jersey
82% 541 540
1081

New Mexico
19% 533 522
1055

New York
79% 528 530
1058

North Carolina
48% 553 544
1096

North Dakota
2% 615 617
1231

Ohio
21% 536 534
1070

Oklahoma
20% 490 481
971

Oregon
51% 557 547
1104

Pennsylvania
67% 543 534
1078

Puerto Rico
511 481
993

Rhode Island
100% 501 489
990

South Carolina
68% 524 503
1026

South Dakota
3% 609 610
1218

Tennessee
7% 601 585
1186

Texas
73% 510 500
1010

Utah
3% 601 603
1204

Vermont
63% 559 545
1103

Virgin Islands
474 437
912

Virginia
65% 567 549
1116

Washington
69% 539 534
1073

West Virginia
98% 480 456
936

Wisconsin
3% 615 628
1243

Wyoming
2% 614 606
1220