SAT scores continue decline; 57 percent of incoming freshmen not ready for college

The annual SAT scores have been released to the public and show a continued decline in math and writing scores.

Even worse, as CBS’s Money Watch reports, more than half of incoming college freshmen are not ready for the academic challenges of college.

"We must dramatically increase the number of students in K-12 who are prepared for college and careers," College Board President David Coleman said in a statement. "Only by transforming the daily work that students do can we achieve excellence and equity."

In the data released by the College Board, a full 57 percent of graduating seniors aren't ready to transition to college coursework, based on SAT results.

The average student performed better on the math portion of the test, scoring 514 out of a possible 800. On the reading comprehension portion, the average student scored 496. Students fared worst on the writing portion of the test, averaging 488.

Technically, the 2013 results are identical to those released in 2012. However, the College Board said the numbers represent a measurable 20-point decline since 2006, when the writing portion of the SATs was first introduced.

“While some might see stagnant scores as no news, we at the College Board consider it a call to action," Coleman said.

Still, there were some positive changes in this year’s data. For example, the number of minority students taking part in the SATs has increased significantly over five years ago: 46 percent of all SAT takers in 2013 were minorities. And among those minorities, African-Americans and Hispanic test takers both saw improved test scores from 2006.

However, the 1498 average total score for all test takers fell short of the 1550 SAT College and Career benchmark, which says students who score at or above that level have a 65 percent chance of earning a B- average.

Interestingly, the College Board also compared the average SAT scores for students based on which degree tracks they were planning to pursue.

Those students planning to study the physical sciences rounded out the top, averaging a score of 1,673 on their SATs. The most popular degree tracks — education (1442), psychology (1484) and business management and marketing (1661) fell further down the scale, though not as far as students planning to study construction or hoping to pursue careers in parks and recreation.

According to the College Board, the students who fare best on their SATs have completed a core set of coursework in high school, have taken AP or honors courses, and fell into the top 10 percent among their classmates in overall GPA.

The College Board, which helps students prepare for the SAT and other college course tests, has recommended a number of changes to improve scores, including providing more rigorous coursework for students.