SAT Scores Drop
America’s high school kids are getting infinitesimally dumber, as evidenced by the biggest SAT score drop in 31 years.
The high school class of 2006 got stuck with a new, longer version of the SAT and didn’t fare well on it. Average reading and math scores fell a total of seven points — the sharpest decline in 31 years.
Experts agreed the dip in combined math and critical reading scores on the college entrance exam was related to the new version of the test — but differed as to how. The updated exam, with a new writing section, also features more advanced math questions and replaces analogies with more reading comprehension.
Average reading scores fell from 508 to 503 and math scores fell from 520 to 518, the College Board announced Tuesday, with the changes hurting boys more than girls. Boys’ reading scores fell eight points, while girls’ dropped just three. And girls scored 11 points better than boys on the new writing section. Boys’ and girls’ math score fell two points each to 536 and 502, respectively.
The College Board, which owns the exam, downplayed the drop, saying it amounts to a fraction of one question per exam. The board’s explanation: about 3 percent fewer test-takers, out of 1.5 million, tried the exam a second time. Combined math and reading scores typically rise 30 points when a student retakes the test.
If it hasn’t already happened, we can start the countdown to a major Democratic leader blaming President Bush for this. Sure, it’s a totally different instrument and the difference is less than one question missed in the aggregate but the bottom line is that this happened on his watch. Perhaps if we had used the money spent trying to bring democracy to Iraq on test prep, this wouldn’t have happened. And Osama bin Laden is still on the loose, too.