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SAT Test Takers Up, Scores Down

College-bound students in California scored lower this year on the verbal portion of the SAT college entrance exam.

Scores in the math section stayed the same. The number of test takers, however, hit an all-time high. Fifty-two percent of graduating seniors took the test. Eight percent more black students and nearly 19 percent more Hispanic students took the test last year compared to 1998.

State officials say rising participation is a result of higher achievement expectations for all students. The average verbal score in California fell by two points to 496. And the average math score stayed at 517. Nationally, students scored an average of 516 in the math and 504 in the verbal. Schools that received the most SAT reports were UCLA, UC San Diego and UC Berkeley.