SAT Scores Remain Unchanged in Lead-up to New Test

SAT scores for 2014 have not changed much compared to previous years, according to data released by the College Board.

The number of students to take the exam is on the rise, increasing by over 7% in one year to 1.67 million students this year. There is also an increase in minority and low-income students to take the exam, with 47.5% of this year's test-takers reportedly being of minority status and 23.6% taking the exam with a fee waiver.

The data also shows that only 42.6% of the 1.6 million students to take the test met the College and Career Readiness Benchmark of having a combined score of 1,550. Students who meet the benchmark have about a 65% chance of earning a B- or higher in their first year at a four-year college.

Of the 19,040 students to take the exam this year in Ohio, 64.4% met the benchmark. Only 48% of public high schools students in Oregon took the test and of those, only 46% reached the benchmark.

According to a College Board study, students who do not meet the benchmark have a higher likelihood of meeting one of several varied outcomes. One in four will not enroll in college. Half of the students who do enroll in a four-year school will not receive higher than a C average in their first year, and 31% will drop out before their junior year.

Inside Higher Ed reported a slow drop in reading, math, and writing skills over the last several years. Reading scores have dropped 11 points and math scores 7 points in the last 10 years.

One problem with the SAT, according to Bob Schaeffer, public education director at the National Center for Fair & Open Testing, is that the test measures a student's background and their ability to access expensive test preparation options and other educational resources rather than their ability to succeed in a higher education setting.

Parents' education was shown to have an influence in test scores as well. Test-takers whose parents had not earned a high school diploma had an average SAT score of 1,286 while students whose parents did have degrees earned an average SAT score of 1,686.

Students whose families hold incomes in the lowest bracket of $20,000 per year or less earned an average score of 1,324, while students whose parents hold incomes in the highest income bracket of $200,000 or higher earned an average score of 1,722.

Over 840 colleges and universities have dropped the SAT and ACT test scores from their admission requirements so far. David Coleman, president and CEO of the non-profit College Board, said they are working hard to change the test so that it helps to prepare students for college and future careers.

A new version of the exam is expected to be released in 2016. There are also plans to partner with Khan Academy in an effort to provide test preparation materials free of charge.

"For a long time, institutions like ours have been reporting that too many students aren't ready for college and career workforce training," said David Coleman, College Board president and CEO, in a statement. "We at the College Board are transforming what we do to advance opportunity, including refocusing our assessments on what matters most and providing free supports for all students. Offering the same old test in the face of lasting problems is just not good enough."

10 16, 2014
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