Wednesday, March 5, 2014

SAT scores are dropping.

Everyone will succeed at something.
Bumped to the top from 2012

So everyone is worried (screaming, whining, carrying on, using for cheap political gain) about the fact that SAT scores have been dropping since 1972. Causes from aliens to the dumbing down of the curriculum are thrown out there.
Reading scores on the SAT for the high school class of 2012 reached a four-decade low, putting a punctuation mark on a gradual decline in the ability of college-bound teens to read passages and answer questions about sentence structure, vocabulary and meaning on the college entrance exam. Many experts attribute the continued decline to record numbers of students taking the test, including about one-quarter from low-income backgrounds. There are many factors that can affect how well a student scores on the SAT, but few are as strongly correlated as family income.
And there you have the real reason. More students are taking the thing and many of those people are unqualified.  You can blame the schools (and me) if you want but you really need to look at the overall picture ... through a cleaner piece of glass.

$150,000 debt. $20/hour.
Obviously not a math major.
The simple fact is that you have more people being conned into thinking they need to go to college in order to be successful, and since the SAT is a big piece of that process, you have more people taking the SAT who probably shouldn't expect to do particularly well. Add in the guidance counselors who convince their charges to take the test so their participation numbers look good.  Add in the athletes who need SAT scores for the national clearinghouse.

Repeat after me:
You don't need to go to college to be successful.

You need to be self-motivated, hard-working, and not a jerk. If your chosen road leads through college, fine, but don't assume that you'll be successful merely because you attended college and racked up a huge debt.

Something that not everyone understands.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, and you're missing the best part. The SAT is set to have a median score of 500 per section. Anyone looking at "averages" is merely observing the skew of the testing, which, as you point out is to more under qualified students taking the exam. SAT scores are not valid comparisons for more than a year or two in either direction since the expected scores on the questions are set based on the previous test-takers' score on the "practice" sections. That makes the SAT useful to select within a given cohort (which is what colleges are doing) but useless to compare 2012 scores with 2002, much less 1972!