07 September 2015

2015 SAT reading and writing scores tank

From Bloomberg: 

Students in the high school class of 2015 turned in the lowest critical reading score on the SAT college entrance exam in more than 40 years, with all three sections declining from the previous year. Meanwhile, ACT Inc. reported that nearly 60 percent of all 2015 high school graduates took the ACT, up from 49 percent in 2011. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-03/students-bombed-the-sat-this-year-in-four-charts)

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Oh well, good thing the new SAT is right around the corner. Without all those obscure words and irrelevant passages, scores should start to artificially increase stabilize. 

2 Responses

  1. Jrg

    What about the endurance issue created by cramming all the passages together in one 65 minute block?

    When was the last time the average highschooler spent a solid hour reading something, let alone answer questions on it?

    I’m not so sure the New SAT will be that much easier…

    1. admin

      That’s a fair point. I’m not denying that the new test is going to be an absolute slog for kids who don’t read, but I do think that it is going to be somewhat easier to manipulate score-wise than the current test. With only four answer choices and no 1/4 point deduction, you’re going to end up with kids getting additional points by guessing. The difference is likely to be very small, but multiply it across enough people, and you could see some slight overall gains. I suspect that the guessing bonus might also have something to do with why ACT reading scores have stayed flat rather than declined. I also think that the test will be somewhat easier for the above-average but not absolute-top kids who right now are losing points on reading because their vocabularies aren’t up to snuff; it could get more difficult to distinguish between the pretty good readers and the amazing readers, which is one thing the SAT now does far better than the ACT (and is losing market share for). I’ve seen plenty of kids who just could not get above 700 (or even 600) on SAT reading switch to the ACT and get perfect/near perfect scores, even though their skills were considerably below the level of the top readers I’ve worked with. If the SAT’s primary goal is to recapture the market, they need to make the distinctions between those groups less obvious.

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