Pennsylvania students scored below the national average on the SAT exam this year, while New Jersey students fared better than the country as a whole.
While national scores have stagnated, students in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey improved this year.
Pennsylvania students' marks were up from 2012 averages of 491 in reading, 501 in math and 480 writing. And New Jersey students improved from averages of 495 in reading, 517 in math and 499 in writing last year.
Nationwide, students averaged 500 in critical reading in 2010 and 497 in 2011, before dropping to 496 for the past two years. Math scores have stagnated at 514 for three years, down from 515 in 2010. And writing scores for the past two years are down a point from the 489 average in 2011.
The College Board said only 43 percent of test-takers nationwide met what it calls the "SAT benchmark," a total score of 1550. Students who obtain that mark on the exam are more likely to enroll in a four-year college and complete their degrees, the organization says.
"While some might see stagnant scores as no news, we at the College Board consider it a call to action," College Board President David Coleman said in a statement. "We must dramatically increase the number of students in K–12 who are prepared for college and careers."
In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, male students had better scores than female students in both critical reading and math, while girls did better in writing.
In both states, white and Asian students had the highest scores in all three sections.