RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — On Wednesday, the Virginia Department of Education announced that Virginia high school graduates outperformed their global peers on the SAT in 2021, according to data from the College Board.

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Data shows that the percentage of high school graduates who took the SAT dropped to 41% in 2021, down from 65% in 2020. The College Board says that this sharp decline is the result of COVID-19 related factors – including the spring 2020 pause in testing, as well as the closure or reduction in testing centers.

According to officials, nearly 40,000 2021 graduating seniors in Virginia took the SAT. 63% of those students either met or exceeded the College Board’s college-readiness benchmarks in both reading and writing, as well as mathematics.

Globally, only 46% of SAT takers met the readiness standard on both sections of the test.

“While this year’s results represent a snapshot of achievement on the SAT during an extraordinary year, Virginia students overall continue to perform well above their peers nationwide,” Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane said.

Further data shows that Virginia’s average overall score of 1151 was 91 points higher than the average for all those 2021 graduating seniors who took the test.

Virginia’s students also averaged 51 points higher on the reading and writing section, as well as 39 points higher on the mathematics section.

Data provided by the Virginia Department of Education