Some SAT news is discouraging

Posted Thursday, Sep. 26, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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The people behind the SAT college entrance exams sought Thursday to call attention to a persistent problem: Only 43 percent of the students who took the SAT this year graduated from high school prepared for the academic rigors of college-level course work.

What’s more, the College Board reported, that number has remained “virtually unchanged” during the last five years.

College Board President David Coleman said the stagnant scores are “a call to action.”

“We must dramatically increase the number of students in K-12 who are prepared for college and careers,” Coleman said in a news release. “Only by transforming the daily work that students do can we achieve excellence and equity.”

In other words, students these days aren’t pushed to work hard enough to reach their own goals, whether it be college or straight to today’s challenging work environments.

Those who met the “SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmark” shared key characteristics, the College Board reported. In high school:

• 84 percent completed four or more years of English and three or more years each of mathematics, natural science and social science or history.

• 63 percent took honors/AP English, 59 percent honors/AP math, 56 percent honors/AP natural science and 61 percent honors/AP social science/history.

• 55 percent of those who attained the benchmark graduated in the top 10 percent of their class.

The Texas Education Agency chose to emphasize the positives in its news release on this year’s SAT tests.

More Texas public school students took the SAT test this year (156,877 of them, up 0.2 percent from last year), which also has been a continuing trend during the past five years.

But TEA acknowledged that the state’s mean SAT scores “have remained relatively stable since 2010.”

And, the news release pointed out, those scores “are below the national average for public school students.”

Significantly more Texas students are taking AP exams (204,795 students, up 5.4 percent from last year). And a growing number of those exams were scored at 3 or higher, making students eligible for potential college credit (up 6.3 percent from last year and 38.4 percent during the last five years).

There’s no real surprise in these numbers. Americans and Texans want their public school students to do better. Still, the numbers are a good reminder of how badly improvements are needed.

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