The press release from the College Board announcing SAT scores for 2011 begins with good news: 43 percent of test-takers met college readiness benchmarks, and 2011 test-takers were the most diverse group in history.
Keep reading the report, however, and you’ll get the real meat of the findings — and the not-so-good news.
More students, including more minority, first-generation college-goers, and ELL’s, may be taking the SAT, but scores are dropping for all test-takers. The scores declined 6 points for reading; 4 points for math and 8 points for writing.
According to Fair Test, a non-profit organization that monitors testing, the numbers are even more alarming for Latino students. Scores for Mexican or Mexican-Americans dropped by 9 points; Puerto Rican students saw a 17-point decrease, and other Latinos reported a drop of 14 points.
Even the College Board’s lead statistic contains disturbing news. If 43 percent of test-takers are college ready, doesn’t that mean the majority are not?
The report presents a good opportunity for education reporters to examine possible reasons behind the decline. Is it, as Fair Test contends, evidence of the failure of No Child Left Behind? Is it because schools are not adapting quickly or effectively to the growing number of English Language Learners?