Roughly 27 percent of the 1.65 million test-takers last year came from a home where English was not the only language, up from 19 percent just a decade ago.
SAT reading scores for the high school class of 2011 were the lowest on record, and combined reading and math scores fell to their lowest point since 1995.
The College Board, which released the scores Wednesday, said the results reflect the record size and diversity of the pool of test-takers. As more students aim for college and take the exam, it tends to drag down average scores.
Meanwhile, other tests taken by more representative groups of high school students have shown reading skills holding steadier. And in the context of the 800-point test, the three-point decline in reading scores to 497 may seem little more than a blip.
Still, it’s just the second time in the last two decades reading scores have fallen as much in a single year. And reading scores are now notably lower than as recently as 2005, when the average was 508.