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Oregon still No. 2 on SAT

SAT scores for the high school class of 2004 were mostly — the same as a year ago, though scores for some minority groups showed — an encouraging increase.

The average cumulative score on the country's most widely — taken college entrance exam was 1,026, the same as for the class of 2003. — Scores on the verbal section rose one point to 508 while math scores fell — one point to 518.

In Oregon, students continued their reign at the top of — the national heap in states where 50 percent or more of students take — the SAT. Only Washington exceeded Oregon's combined verbal and math score — of 1,055.

The average score on the math portion of the SAT in Oregon — was 528, 10 points above the national average. Verbal results were even — better: the average score was 527, a full 19 points above the national — average. Last year's Oregon averages were 526 on the verbal portion and — 527 on the math section.

Still, behind the rosy numbers there is some sobering — news for education officials. Oregon's numbers have remained essentially — flat for the last five years.

The stagnant scores nationally were something of a disappointment — following a six-point jump last year from 2002 that produced a 36-year — high. But The College Board, which owns the test and was releasing the — scores today, said it was good news that more students are taking the — test and signaling they hope to attend college, even if that may have — weighed down average results.

There was also some consolation in improved scores for — some minorities, who made up a record 37 percent of the 1.4 million test-takers, — also a record.

Students identifying themselves as Mexican American boosted — their scores nine points to 909. Scores from those identifying themselves — as Puerto Ricans were flat at 909, but students in the "other Hispanic" — category increased their scores five points to 926.

Amy Schmidt, executive director of higher education research — at The College Board, said it's too early to tell whether the minority — groups' gains represent a long-term trend. But she said they are significant, — given the expanded test-taking pool. For instance, while Mexican American — cumulative scores are the same as a decade ago, the number of test-takers — has risen by nearly two-thirds.

"The scores are almost immaterial," she said. "The sheer — numbers across the board of minorities are growing because these kids — are aspiring to go to college."

Scores for Asians rose one point to 1,084, while scores — for American Indians rose nine points to 971. Cumulative scores for students — identifying themselves as black were flat at 857, while scores for whites — fell four points to 1,061. Nineteen percent of students did not respond — to the question about their racial/ethnic identity.

Males scored 512 on the verbal section and 537 on math, — identical to a year ago. Scores for females rose one point on verbal to — 504 and fell two points on math to 501.