SAT Scores Tank

The Writing/Reading part of the College Test has hot new lows. “Merde” – we are producing more conservatives!

One of the drivers of this is likely the fact that 27% of those taking the SAT don’t speak English as a first language. 10 Years ago that number was 19%.

I’m not a big believer that the College Tests, the SAT and tit’s competitor the ACT indicate anything more a than acculturation to the education model. Change the model, and you change the “important” skills. The issue here is we have a system which encourages kids to go to college, even though we aren’t creating jobs for them when they graduate. Perhaps the “problem” in American Education is finding a way to make it more reactive to market demand?

And perhaps we need on hell of a lot more Scientists and Engineers, and an economy which rewards people with those skills.

SAT Scores Fall as Number of Test-Takers Rises

Average SAT scores fell across the board this past year—down 3 points in critical reading, 2 points in writing, and 1 point in math.

This year, 1.65 million students in the high school graduating class of 2011 took the college-entrance exam, up from 1.6 million for the class of 2010, according to results released today.

The increase in test-takers can lead to a decline in mean scores, the College Board says, because more students of varying academic ability are represented.

Regardless of the drop in mean scores, according to a press release from the New York City-based College Board, the test’s sponsor, “there are more high-performing students among the class of 2011 than ever before.”

Each section of the test is scored from 200 to 800, with a 2400 for all sections combined being perfect. Critical-reading scores in this year’s report compared with last year’s dropped from 500 to 497, math from 515 to 514, and writing from 491 to 489, for an overall score change from 1506 to 1500—all statistically significant. Since 2007, the first year that College Board June cohort data are available, critical reading and math scores have each had a 4-point decline, while math scores have remained stable.

The new total test-taking figures show the gap further narrowing between the SAT and the rival ACT, which unveiled its numbers last month with 1.62 million students in the class of 2011 taking the test, an all-time high for the Iowa City, Iowa-based testing company as well. Last year, the College Board began including all test-takers through June of their senior year and did so again.

 

 

The New Jim Crow – The Academic Testing Myth

One of the long running “truths” spouted by conservatives is that black students perform worse than white or Asian students on SATs, and thus are variously a) less intelligent, b) don’t take educations seriously, c) are lazy, or d) are “anti-education” in condemning successful students as “acting white”.

Despite mounting evidence of flaws in high stakes academic testing is invalid.

“All admissions decisions based exclusively or predominantly on SAT performance–and therefore access to higher education institutions and subsequent job placement and professional success–appear to be biased against the African American minority group and could be exposed to legal challenge.”


New evidence that SAT hurts blacks

Roy Freedle is 76 now, with a research psychologist’s innate patience. He knows that decades often pass before valid ideas take root. When the notion is as radical as his, that the SAT is racially biased, an even longer wait might be expected. But after 23 years the research he has done on the surprising reaction of black students to hard words versus easy words seems to be gaining new respectability.

Seven years ago, after being discouraged from investigating findings while working for the Educational Testing Service, Freedle published a paper in the Harvard Educational Review that won significant attention.

He was retired from ETS by then. As he expected, his former supervisors dismissed his conclusions. Researchers working for the College Board, which owns the SAT, said the test was not biased. But the then president of the University of California system, a cognitive psychologist named Richard C. Atkinson, was intrigued. He asked the director of research in his office to replicate Freedle’s study.

Now, in the latest issue of the Harvard Educational Review, the two scholars who took on that project have published a paper saying Freedle was right about a flaw in the SAT, even in its current form. They say “the SAT, a high-stakes test with significant consequences for the educational opportunities available to young people in the United States, favors one ethnic group over another.” Continue reading

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