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The SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT 10, and PSAT 8/9 form the SAT Suite of Assessments. The last three assess the same skills and knowledge as the SAT, but at grade-appropriate levels. Because all three tests share a score scale with the SAT, students get feedback they can compare from year to year.

In 2017-18, Colorado, Delaware, Michigan, the District of Columbia, and over 160 districts in other states offered the entire SAT Suite to all their public school students.

Participation

  • Over 7.8 million students took the SAT or a PSAT-related assessment in the 2017-18 school year, compared to 7.3 million in 2016-17.
  • Almost 5.9 million students took at least one PSAT-related assessment in 2017-18, compared to 5.6 million in 2016-17.
  • About 4.3 million students took the PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10 in the 2017-18 school year, up slightly from 4.29 million in 2016-17.
  • Over 1.5 million students took the PSAT 8/9 in the 2017-18 school year, a 20% increase over 2016-17.

Early Feedback and College Readiness

Taken in the eighth and ninth grade, the PSAT 8/9 establishes a baseline measurement of skills as students enter high school. The 20% increase in participation means an additional 267,000 students received early feedback on their college readiness.

Educators and parents use test scores and subscores to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses. The earlier they know students aren’t on track for college readiness, the earlier they can intervene, adjust classroom work, and encourage students to practice.

Students in 10th and 11th grade take the PSAT 10 or PSAT/NMSQT. These tests help educators and parents check student progress toward college readiness.

Many schools that used to give their ninth graders the PSAT/NMSQT are now giving them the PSAT 8/9. By taking a test designed for their grade level, students get more accurate feedback.

Student Growth from Year to Year

All four tests in the SAT Suite share a score scale, making it possible to compare a student’s scores on different tests and find out how much progress they're making toward college readiness.

We examined the performance of students who took tests in consecutive years to find out how many did not meet grade-level benchmarks the first year but were able to get themselves on track for college readiness the following year.

There's encouraging news about the youngest and oldest students, whose average growth exceeded typical growth:

  • Among eighth graders who took the PSAT 8/9 in 2016-17 and again in ninth grade, 11% were off track the first year and on track the second.
  • Similarly, among 11th graders who took the PSAT/NMSQT and went on to take the SAT in 11th or 12th grade, 9% were off track when they took the PSAT/NMSQT but got themselves on track and met the SAT benchmarks.

Growth between 9th and 10th grades and between 10th and 11th grades was lower; growth in Math was less than expected. Only 5% of 10th graders and 6% of 11th graders were on track after being off track the previous year. More research is needed to find out why.

Participation Details by Grade

 
2017-18 PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10 Participation: 11th Grade
  Number Percent
All Test Takers 1,798,274  
 
Female 933,192 52%
Male 863,319 48%
 
American Indian/Alaska Native 14,374 1%
Asian 153,236 9%
Black/African American 188,521 10%
Hispanic/Latino 465,335 26%
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander 4,770 0%
White 831,624 46%
Two or More Races 75,728 4%
No Response 64,686 4%
 
2017-18 PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10 Participation: 10th Grade
  Number Percent
All Test Takers 2,240,289  
 
Female 1,133,148 51%
Male 1,100,842 49%
 
American Indian/Alaska Native 29,613 1%
Asian 165,031 7%
Black/African American 250,124 11%
Hispanic/Latino 611,432 27%
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander 6,604 0%
White 897,209 40%
Two or More Races 94,511 4%
No Response 185,765 8%
 
2017-18 PSAT 8/9 Participation: 9th Grade
  Number Percent
All Test Takers 930,334  
 
Female 458,650 49%
Male 469,613 50%
 
American Indian/Alaska Native 11,120 1%
Asian 52,440 6%
Black/African American 120,270 13%
Hispanic/Latino 268,420 29%
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander 2,241 0%
White 357,520 38%
Two or More Races 38,050 4%
No Response 80,273 9%
 
2017-18 PSAT 8/9 Participation: 8th Grade
  Number Percent
All Test Takers 599,765  
 
Female 297,547 50%
Male 300,734 50%
 
American Indian/Alaska Native 7,316 1%
Asian 32,391 5%
Black/African American 76,430 13%
Hispanic/Latino 192,722 32%
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander 1,617 0%
White 179,859 30%
Two or More Races 20,071 3%
No Response 89,359 15%

Performance

2017-18 Performance on the PSAT-Related Assessments
Grade Test Mean Total Score Met Both Benchmarks
11th grade PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10 1014 44%
10th grade PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10 932 38%
9th grade PSAT 8/9 871 39%
8th grade PSAT 8/9 812 34%

These data are based on a student's most recent test results.

Score Ranges and Benchmarks

Each of the PSAT-related assessments has a different score range, but for all tests the total score is the sum of scores for the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math sections.

We consider students who meet both grade-level benchmarks on track to be ready for entry-level college courses without remediation when they graduate high school. Grade-level benchmarks reflect expected student growth toward SAT benchmarks at each grade.

PSAT-Related Assessments Score Ranges and Benchmarks
Grade Test Score Range ERW Benchmark Math Benchmark
11th grade PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10 320–1520 460 510
10th grade PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10 320–1520 430 480
9th grade PSAT 8/9 240–1440 410 450
8th grade PSAT 8/9 240–1440 390 430

Performance Details by Grade

 
2017-18 PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10 Performance: 11th Grade
  Mean Total Score Met Both Benchmarks
All Test Takers 1014 44%
 
Female 1014 42%
Male 1014 45%
 
American Indian/Alaska Native 866 16%
Asian 1148 69%
Black/African American 890 18%
Hispanic/Latino 928 26%
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander 921 25%
White 1074 56%
Two or More Races 1053 50%
No Response 900 23%
 
2017-18 PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10 Performance: 10th Grade
  Mean Total Score Met Both Benchmarks
All Test Takers 932 38%
 
Female 940 38%
Male 925 38%
 
American Indian/Alaska Native 812 13%
Asian 1066 66%
Black/African American 837 17%
Hispanic/Latino 866 23%
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander 857 22%
White 997 53%
Two or More Races 968 45%
No Response 850 22%
 
2017-18 PSAT 8/9 Performance: 9th Grade
  Mean Total Score Met Both Benchmarks
All Test Takers 871 39%
 
Female 881 40%
Male 861 38%
 
American Indian/Alaska Native 776 17%
Asian 999 67%
Black/African American 778 17%
Hispanic/Latino 814 25%
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander 803 23%
White 934 54%
Two or More Races 899 44%
No Response 835 31%
 
2017-18 PSAT 8/9 Performance: 8th Grade
  Mean Total Score Met Both Benchmarks
All Test Takers 812 34%
 
Female 819 34%
Male 805 33%
 
American Indian/Alaska Native 751 18%
Asian 937 64%
Black/African American 750 18%
Hispanic/Latino 767 22%
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander 762 21%
White 873 49%
Two or More Races 844 41%
No Response 795 30%

Scholarships

When students take a PSAT-related assessment, they unlock many benefits that can help them improve their skills and overcome barriers to college. These include Official SAT Practice, AP Potential, and Roadmap to Careers. We also connect PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 10 test takers to scholarship opportunities. In 2018, College Board scholarship partners awarded about $207 million.

The cost of college stands in the way of far too many students. Yet every year, 2.9 billion in U.S. scholarship dollars goes unclaimed, in part because scholarship organizations have trouble finding enough qualified applicants.

That's why the College Board decided to build on the success of our work with the National Merit® Scholarship Corporation, which cosponsors the PSAT/NMSQT and provides scholarships to students who take it. We now help 15 additional scholarship organizations reach out to students who take the PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10. Some of them award scholarships on the basis of academic merit alone, while others have specific financial, racial/ethnic, geographic, or other eligibility criteria.

National Merit Scholarship Program

The PSAT/NMSQT is the qualifying test for entry into the National Merit Scholarship Program, an academic competition for recognition and scholarships. 100% of their scholarship recipients are PSAT/NMSQT test takers.

Additional Scholarships Awarded in 2018

By contacting PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 10 test takers who opt in to receive information, our other scholarship partners get more qualified applicants than ever before; some get so many that they’re hoping to increase their scholarship awards and offer new programs.

These partners worked with the College Board to award scholarships totaling $165 million in 2018:

  • Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund
  • Cobell Scholarship (administered by Indigenous Education Inc.)
  • Hispanic Scholarship Fund
  • Jack Kent Cooke Foundation
  • The Jackie Robinson Foundation
  • United Negro College Fund
  • Washington State Opportunity Scholarship

These are the results:

  • More than 77,000 PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 10 test takers were encouraged to apply.
  • 23% of applicants were PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10 test takers.
  • 38% of recipients were PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10 test takers.
  • Over $15 million was awarded to PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 10 test takers.

Looking Ahead

In 2018-19, these partners will start to award scholarships in partnership with the College Board:

  • American Indian Graduate Center
  • Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation
  • Daniel's Fund
  • TheDream.US
  • George Snow Scholarship Fund
  • Horatio Alger Association
  • Ron Brown Scholar Program

Learn more about our scholarship partners.