The average scores of high school seniors on the SAT college entrance exam declined slightly this past school year in all three categories tested--critical reading, mathematics, and writing. But the drop in average scores was tempered by what some observers took as encouraging news: This year’s group of test-takers was the largest and most diverse on record, and educators say the addition of a writing portion on the exam has led to more emphasis on writing in their classrooms.

The results, which the not-for-profit College Board released this morning at a Washington, D.C., press conference, pointed to the continuation of a...

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