About two-thirds of Illinois public high schools posted below-average to rock-bottom scores on the SAT college entrance exam, given for free for the first time to 11th-graders last spring at school, revealing that thousands of students are still struggling even as the state pushes kids to achieve at higher levels.
Average scores ranged from the low 740s to the high 1300s, reflecting wide disparities in performance at more than 700 high schools statewide, according to data released Tuesday as part of the state’s annual picture of public schools, called the Illinois Report Card.
Black and Hispanic teens fared worse on the exam compared with white and Asian peers, the data show. Some students attend classes in high-poverty neighborhoods, while others are educated in wealthy suburban enclaves and blue-collar and downstate rural areas.
Payton College Preparatory High School, a selective enrollment Chicago Public School, posted the highest SAT average in the state — a 1375. But in pockets of CPS, about two dozen schools posted the worst averages statewide, all under an 800 for math and for reading and writing combined.
The Illinois State Board of Education’s report card is a conglomeration of data ranging from state exam scores for high school and grade school students, to school finance, teacher attendance and evaluations, and enrollment and socioeconomic trends, among other measures made available to families and taxpayers.