Blog: Education by the Numbers

College board moans stagnation of SAT scores

The College Board, which administers the SAT, issued a report yesterday (September 26, 2013) bemoaning that only 43 percent of SAT takers in the 2013 graduating class were college and career ready. That means 57% are not ready. What does that mean? The College Board set an arbitrary cut off, that is a 1550 SAT score, above which students have a 65% probability of obtaining a college grade point average of a B- or above.Those that scored a 1550 or higher were deemed “ready”. Those that scored lower were deemed “not ready”. What is so important about a B -, I wonder? Don’t grades fluctuate by university. I’d imagine that a C student at Yale might be able to snag a B – at SUNY. Is the lazy Yale student not college ready? If I recall correctly, President George W. Bush received a number of those gentleman’s C’s.

None of this is a sudden change in SAT scores. The number hasn’t budged since 2009. The big change in SAT scores happened in the late 80s and early 90s when thousands more students, many of them not as academically ambitious, began taking it. The average score plummeted and that’s why the administrators of the SAT had to “recenter” the exam and jack everyone’s points up by about 100. Thus, the 1300 SAT score of my day is now equivalent to 1400.

The College Board is planning to revamp the SAT in 2015 to test more of the kinds of things that students actually learn in high school.