Wednesday, August 29, 2007

"Spin" and the SAT Scores Decline

The College Board has released a report on the 2007 scores on the SAT. Scores declined for the second consecutive year, with a 1 point drop in "critical reading" (formerly known as the verbal section) and a 3 point drop in math. The "spin" the College Board is giving these dismal results is that the drop is the natural result of a more diverse group of test-takers.

It is true that African-Americans, Latinos, and Asian-Americans now represent 39% of test-takers, an all-time high, though only up 1% from the 2006. However, Asians held steady on the math section from 2006 and gained 4 points on the verbal. Mexican-Americans gained 1 point on both the math & verbal sections. Other Hispanics held steady on the math and gained 1 point on the verbal. African-Americans held steady on the math section.

The demographic group with the largest decline in math scores? Non-Latino whites! They experienced a drop of 2 points from 2006. Given that non-Latino whites represent 61% of the test pool, their decline is the single largest factor in the overall decline of SAT math scores.

Minorities are getting a bum rap for the decline in SAT scores, and I'm disappointed that the elite media is buying into the College Board "spin". It took me less than 5 minutes to analyze the numbers for myself and see that what the College Board PR folks are saying is a fat, steaming load of excrement.

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