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SAT Scores Drop in Math for High School Class of 2014

Tuesday, 07 October 2014 10:30 AM

The high school class of 2014 turned in the lowest math scores on the SAT college-entrance exam since 2000, reinforcing concern that the U.S. is falling behind global rivals in science and math performance.

Math results dipped a point to 513 from last year, while writing fell to 487, the lowest mark since that portion of the test was first given to the class of 2006. Reading scores rose by a point.

“Flat and stagnant would be the words that we would use,” Cyndie Schmeiser, chief of assessment at the College Board, which administers the test, said on a call with reporters.

U.S. teenagers lag behind peers from Asia in international tests of math, reading and science, prompting calls for the country to improve its educational standards. Fewer than half, or 42.6 percent, of SAT takers met benchmarks to show they are prepared for college-level work, compared with 42.7 percent last year.

The SAT is in the midst of a redesign to make the test more relevant. The new exam, to be offered in March 2016, will dispense with esoteric words, won’t deduct points for incorrect answers and will make the essay section optional. Almost 175,000 more students took the ACT, owned by ACT Inc. of Iowa City, Iowa, than the College Board’s SAT.

‘Same Old’

“Offering the same old test in the face of lasting problems is just not good enough,” David Coleman, president and chief executive officer of the New York-based College Board, said in a statement.

In the 2012 Programme for International Student Assessment, administered by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the U.S. placed below average in math and about average in reading and science among the 34 countries in the OECD. In math, U.S. students trailed those in Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan, as well as the Chinese regions of Hong Kong, Shanghai and Macau.

The number of SAT test takers in the class of 2014 was 1.67 million, up less than a percent from last year, compared with a 2.6 percent increase to 1.85 million for the ACT. The ACT numbers are likely to rise over at least the next two years, as more states decide to fund the test during the school day.

About a fifth of four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. have dropped the SAT or ACT as an admissions requirement, saying there are better ways to evaluate applicants. Many admission offices say high school transcripts are a better indicator of future college success.

Test Optional

At least 20 colleges joined the “test optional” wave in the past two years, including Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut; Temple University in Philadelphia; and nearby Bryn Mawr College.

In the class of 2014, 10 states required and paid for their public school students to take the ACT when they were juniors. Two states were added for the Class of 2015 and six more will be added this year and will be reflected in the class of 2016 report, according to Ed Colby, a spokesman.

Illinois and Arkansas also pay for the test for school districts that approve it.

The College Board is working to encourage districts to make the SAT available during the school day, Schmeiser said. Currently three states, Maine, Delaware and Idaho, and the District of Columbia pay for students to take the SAT.


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The high school class of 2014 turned in the lowest math scores on the SAT college-entrance exam since 2000, reinforcing concern that the U.S. is falling behind global rivals in science and math performance. Math results dipped a point to 513 from last year, while writing...
sat, math, scores, drop, 2014, americans
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2014-30-07
Tuesday, 07 October 2014 10:30 AM
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