Before deciding which college admissions exam to take, Florida high school college applicants should consider their level of preparation for the ACT and/or SAT. That is, such college-ready applicants should begin participating, early and often, in those college and career readiness or college planning programs offered by the ACT and SAT assessment or college admissions systems.
Florida colleges and universities, which are members of the State University System, require college applicants to attain ACT scores of 19 for the Reading, 19 for the Math and 18 for the Combined English/Writing sections, and SAT scores of 460 for the Critical Reading, 460 for the Math, and 440 for the Writing sections.
According to the 2012 Florida Public School District Average Scores, 59% of Florida high school seniors took the ACT, of which the average scores were 20.2 for the Reading, 19.5 for the Math and 18.6 for the Combined English/Writing sections; compared to 53% of those same students who took the SAT, of which the average scores were 493 for the Critical Reading, 487 for the Math and 473 for the Writing sections.
Specifically for Broward County Public Schools, which includes those public schools and public charter schools located in Fort Lauderdale, respective percentages of 59% and 56% of high school seniors who took the 2012 ACT and SAT. The respective average scores of these students who took the ACT and SAT were 19.9 for the Reading, 19.6 for the Math and 17.9 for the Combined English/Writing sections, and 484 for the Critical Reading, 488 for the Math and 471 for the Writing sections.
As a result, students applying for admissions to any Florida colleges and universities of the State University System, may most responsibly consider—based on the aforementioned 2012 state and district data—early and ongoing participation in an SAT college planning program. This is supported by data analysis, which yielded respective average percentage changes of 0.67% and 3.67% for high school seniors of Broward County Public Schools who took the SAT in relation to those high school seniors of Florida and the United States who also took the test. That is, compared to the average percentage changes for those students who took the ACT, which were 1.55% and 9.48% for Florida and the United States, respectively.
In other words, while examining the data for those high school seniors of Broward County Public Schools in relation to those averages provided by the Florida Department of Education and The National Center for Fair and Open Testing, the likelihood of Florida high school applicants attempting to satisfy the minimum admissions requirements of the State University System is greatest via participation in a college planning program provided by the SAT college admissions system.
As indicated in Helpful tips for college bound students, students along with their parents must start college preparation, as early as each student’s 8th-grade year. Parents and students should request information, regarding college and career readiness or college planning programs offered by their school or school district, which may include ACT Explore, ACT Plan, ACT Aspire, and/or PSAT/NMSQT programs. Effective June 13, 2014, previously obtained licensing will no longer be renewed for the use of ACT Explore and ACT Plan programs.
The ACT Aspire assessment system has replaced the ACT Explore and ACT Plan programs, and has been made available to student participation, as early as the Grade 3 academic year. While the SAT college planning program, BigFuture, primarily begins with students in their Grade 8 academic year. However, students in their Grade 11 academic year who attain qualifying scores on the PSAT/NMSQT may become eligible to participate in the National Merit Scholarship Program, of which the qualifying scores vary by state. Thus, there are benefits to students who participate in both assessment or college admissions systems.
While statistical factors such as demographics, including geography, backgrounds, race and others remain negligible and although as indicated by much of the aforementioned data analysis—the respective average percentages for high school seniors of Broward County Public Schools who took the ACT and SAT of 59% and 56%, more students should be participating in these college and career readiness or college planning programs offered by these respective assessment or college admissions systems. Such participation may exist as the strongest indicators, as to which college admissions exam will become the eventual, most suitable for students as they become college-ready applicants during their upperclassmen high school academic years.