Benchmarks

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The SAT Suite of Assessments’ College and Career Readiness Benchmarks work together to help students and educators assess student progress toward college readiness from year to year. Benchmarks help:

  • Identify students who are thriving and require greater challenges.
  • Identify students who require additional academic support.
  • Inform instructional and curricular enhancements throughout an institution.

Jump down to view benchmark values.

Important:

Taking Action to Improve Skills

For a detailed view of student performance, drill down into test scores and subscores. With their color-coded score ranges, they pinpoint strengths and weaknesses so educators can help students meet the benchmarks.

SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmarks Defined

Students are considered college- and career-ready when their SAT section scores meet both the Math and the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing benchmarks. It is important to note that college readiness is a continuum — students scoring below the SAT benchmarks can still be successful in college, especially with additional preparation and perseverance.

Students with an SAT Math section score that meets or exceeds the benchmark have a 75 percent chance of earning at least a C in first-semester, credit-bearing college courses in algebra, statistics, pre-calculus, or calculus.

Students with an SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (ERW) section score that meets or exceeds the benchmark have a 75 percent chance of earning at least a C in first-semester, credit-bearing college courses in history, literature, social sciences, or writing classes.

Grade-Level Benchmarks Defined

Students who take the PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT 10, and PSAT 8/9 see grade-level benchmarks on their score reports. Grade-level benchmarks indicate whether students are on track for college and career readiness. They are based on expected student growth toward SAT benchmarks at each grade. Preliminary benchmarks were used for the 2015 PSAT/NMSQT and fall PSAT 8/9 scores.

Benchmark Indicators

Score reports use colors to show how students’ section scores relate to the SAT or grade-level benchmark.

  • Green: The section score meets or exceeds the benchmark.
  • Yellow: The section score is within one year’s academic growth of the benchmark.
  • Red: The section score is below the benchmark by more than one year’s academic growth.

Benchmark Values and Section Score Ranges

SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmarks


  • Evidence-Based Reading and Writing: 480
  • Math: 530

11th Grade Benchmarks


  • Evidence-Based Reading and Writing: 460
  • Math: 510

10th Grade Benchmarks


  • Evidence-Based Reading and Writing: 430
  • Math: 480

9th Grade Benchmarks


  • Evidence-Based Reading and Writing: 410
  • Math: 450

8th Grade Benchmarks


  • Evidence-Based Reading and Writing: 390
  • Math: 430

Learn More

Find out how to get a detailed view of students' skills

Download the Educator’s Brief on Benchmarks and the SAT Suite (281 KB | .pdf).