Vermont students posted a strong showing on the 2008 College Board Scholastic Assessment Tests (SAT) and Advanced Placement (AP) exams, the Department of Education announced last week. Vermont has higher mean scores in each SAT section compared to both New England and the nation. Since 2007, Critical Reading increased by three points to 519, Mathematics improved by five points to 523 and Writing declined by one point to 507. Vermont public school means improved in two sections while the third showed no growth from 2007 to 2008. Critical Reading improved by five points to 521. Mathematics improved by five points to 523, and Writing remained unchanged at 507. In addition: 64 percent of Vermont high school seniors took the exam. The number of SAT test takers in the 2008 high school cohort in Vermont decreased by two percent, from 5,579 to 5,468. The percent of Vermont SAT takers who noted that they are the first generation going to college remained constant at 31 percent. Females in Vermont had mean score increases in Critical Reading of three points to 519, in Mathematics of three points to 506 and in Writing of two points to 516. Of the 25 states in which 40 percent or more of the graduating class in public and private schools took the SATs, only three states had higher mean Math scores than Vermont. Four states had higher mean scores in Writing and Critical Reading. The statewide results of the College Board Advanced Placement (AP) exams also were released today. The AP program offers high school students academically challenging college-level courses in a variety of subject areas. In all, 3,355 Vermont students participated in the AP program (up 2.6 percent from 2007) and took 5,468 AP exams (up 4.8 percent from last year). AP exams are scored on a scale of one (lowest score) to five (highest score). Sixty-five percent of Vermont exams were scored at three or higher. A score of three or above is considered demonstrating college level mastery of the content.