Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Texas Trails National Average in College Entrance Exam Scores

This report is consistent with Linda McNeil's chapter, "Faking Equity," in my book, LEAVING CHILDREN BEHIND. However unfortunate, these news are consistent with what we've already observed here in Texas where the only thing that's been going up are the students' test scores. Every other indicator—ACT, SAT, TASP, high school completion—runs diametrically in the opposite direction. Yet we continue pursuing the same path and leading the nation down it, as well.... -Angela

State's class of 2005 scored 502 compared with U.S. average of 520
By April Castro
Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Although college-bound high school students across the nation scored higher than ever on the math portion of the SAT, Texas students lagged significantly with scores that have remained stagnant over the past decade.

The Texas class of 2005 scored an average of 502 on the math portion of the college entrance exam, below the national average of 520. The math and verbal sections of the SAT are each graded on a 200 to 800 point scale.

For the past decade, Texas scores on the math portion have teetered around 500 while the national average has improved consistently. Nationally, this year's math scores are the highest ever on the test, which has been in use since the 1940s. Scores from individual school districts were not available Tuesday.

More students taking advanced courses such as pre-calculus, calculus and physics led to widespread higher math scores, according to the College Board, which owns the test.

Texas test takers also lagged on the verbal portion, scoring an average of 493. The national average was 508. The average verbal score did not change in the past year but fell slightly from the average of 495 a decade ago.

"The relatively flat trend in verbal scores indicates what we have observed for years: the need to redouble efforts to emphasize the core literacy skills of reading and writing in all courses across the curriculum, starting in the earliest grades," said Gaston Caperton, president of the College Board.

The number of Texas students who took the test rose 4 percent to 133,115, continuing a decade-long increase, said Debbie Graves Ratcliffe, a Texas Education Agency spokeswoman. That means 54 percent of graduating seniors took the test, which most Texas universities consider in determining admissions.

Some open-enrollment community colleges do not require tests from students.

Nationally, the number of SAT takers rose to an all-time high of more than 1.4 million, a 4 percent increase over the previous year.

In Texas, 48 percent of test takers were minorities. Of those, Hispanics and black students scored lower than those groups nationally.

Though the test now includes a writing section, the class of 2005 was not required to take that version.

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