NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The average score for Louisiana students who took the SAT college test held steady this year in critical reading and mathematics and dropped slightly in writing.

Louisiana’s average SAT scores had dropped in recent years. But this year, the critical reading average score was 555 and the mathematics average was 550, matching last year’s averages. The writing score was 546, down a point from last year.

Louisiana’s SAT takers beat the national averages.

Nationally, the average reading score on the SAT fell three points to 497; the national math score fell one point to 514.

Louisiana has a relatively small number of SAT takers - 2,787 this year. More than 35,000 Louisiana students took another college test, the ACT, in which the state average composite score was up slightly.

© 2011 The Associated Press.