September 17, 2011

"Average SAT exam scores for high school seniors dropped three points in reading, one point in math and two points in writing..."

"Reading scores are the lowest on record."

But it's probably just that more students take the test these days.

46 comments:

Donald said...

I just remember math and verbal sections, not 'reading.'

The Crack Emcee said...

Who's surprised?

Welcome To Fraudland!

ndspinelli said...

Thank you teacher's union. Maybe it's a Machiavellian plot to increase the Democrat base, every point drop means a point increase in registered Dems.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Bending the education curve!! (unexpectedly)

Way to go Unionized Public Education.

Jason (the commenter) said...

If this were about Texas, rather than California or the country as a whole, it would be all Perry's fault.

Tank said...

I'm no fan of the education union, but this probably has more to do with immigration and the push to have more students attend college and, therefore, take the SAT.

ndspinelli said...

Looks like it's an LA Times morning. I read the hard copy when I'm in SoCal. It's great for entertainment news, particularly leading up to the Oscars. And, they have a very good sports section.

It's great watching the Oscars in California. I still can get to bed by 10pm! We always eat Chinese takeout while watching.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The SAT report found, for example, that students who completed a core high school curriculum — defined as four or more years of English, three of math, three of natural science and three of social science and history — scored 143 points higher on average than those who did not take those courses

Gee....whoda thunk it. If you study the material and take the classes you do better on the test. Wow. Revelation.

Here is a question. If you are not studying and taking classes in those subjects, just what the hell are you actually doing in high school?

What is the point of just taking up space? If you are not going to learn english, math, science, history..... Maybe you should go to a vocational school and learn a skill so you can get an actual job.

Pogo said...

Unexpectedly!!

There are a thousand things to blame for lower test scores.

Like the housing bubble, public education has comforted itself with pretty lies to explain the persistent bad news.

But the facts are plain: schools are turning out ever more ignorant and illiterate kids.

Their answer is, in part, to address 'diversity and climate' to 'prepare them for the future' blah blah blah.

More of the same.

DADvocate said...

...this probably has more to do with immigration and the push to have more students attend college and, therefore, take the SAT.

Disregarding your blatant racist, bigoted, Mexican/Hispanic/Honduran/Latino/Nicaraguan/Costa Ricoan/Puerto Rican/Venezuelan/Hatian/Brazilian/Etc hating innuendo, I agree with you. Too many kids are expected to go to college. You can make a good living in many trades, often better than many jobs that require a college degree.

Winding down said...

From "not a teacher" but have family members who are..

The opportunity to learn exists in most every school.
A critical element is parent involvement ...teachers cannot compensate for unwilling-to-learn students of disinterested parents..

virgil xenophon said...

No, Tank, the "un-educated immigrant" influx of test-takers is only an excuse. If it were truely them alone then while the averages would continue to trend down, the absolute numbers of test-takers who garnered perfect scores should continue upward on the graph unabated (as opposed to the averages) as numbers of test-takers rise with population growth. HOWEVER, this is NOT the case. The absolute number of those who score perfect 1600s (or today's equivalent) has been in free-fall right along with the averages, leading to the inescapable conclusion that declining test scores reflect something SERIOUSLY wrong with our educational system since SAT averages/scores peaked in 1963 and have been in free-fall ever since.
Gee, I wonder what those reasons might be? I couldn't hazard a guess, could you?

Winding down said...

Right on DBQ & DAD

Every time I repair the car or call plumber or electrician I feel I shud call the police and make a robbery report. But that's the free market at work....hallaluyah... For all those good people who PRODUCE goods and services.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

You can make a good living in many trades, often better than many jobs that require a college degree.

Correct. However, in almost any trade you need math skills, the ability to read and understand English and be able to write a letter with correct spelling and grammar.

Plus it doesn't hurt to have some general education in history, geography etc so you can hold a conversation with your clients and not sound like an uneducated moron.

Being a carpenter or plumber requires understanding of geometry, the ability to calculate angles and other math abilities..... even algebra.

Maybe you aren't going to go to college, but you need to learn SOMETHING in high school. Instead we have kids who are unable to read or write or do basic math.

They used to have 'tracks' in high school way back when I was younger. College Prep or Vocational classes. If you were not going to college, you could take wood shop, mechanic classes, welding, agriculture, office skills etc. Some of the seniors would apprentice with local construction firms or accountancy firms for credit and actually earned some money too. We should bring this model back.

Tank said...

Virgil

I said "more to do."

Not all.

Go look at the PISA articles at iSteve.

The Drill SGT said...

"Reading scores are the lowest on record."

But it's probably just that more students take the test these days.


Just a guess, but isn't it because no kids read anything except the kill numbers on the screen in Doom 7?

PS: DBQ said...They used to have 'tracks' in high school way back when I was younger. College Prep or Vocational classes. If you were not going to college, you could take wood shop, mechanic classes, welding, agriculture, office skills etc.

That was determined to be racist by the Educational Mafia (I mean Teachers Union). Every kid deserves to go to college....

Maguro said...

The SAT report found, for example, that students who completed a core high school curriculum — defined as four or more years of English, three of math, three of natural science and three of social science and history — scored 143 points higher on average than those who did not take those courses

Gee....whoda thunk it. If you study the material and take the classes you do better on the test. Wow. Revelation.


I think you're confusing correlation and causation here. Kids who are smart enough and motivated enough to pass all those classes will obviously score higher thn kids who are not.

Simply forcing less academically-inclined kids to sit through all those classes will not magically raise their scores 143 points.

lemondog said...

"As we reach more students who have less resources, scores will tend to drop."

Winding down said...

The opportunity to learn exists in most every school.
A critical element is parent involvement ...


Less resources = lack of parent involvement.

edutcher said...

That "distinguished educator", William Ayers, and his friends at the Columbia University School of Education have achieved their goal.

Milwaukee said...

There are many unseen problems here. One is that a college degree once was a marker for certain attributes: such as intelligence and "stick-to-it-tiveness". Since those with college degrees were successful, the shallow amongst us thought getting more people college degrees would make them successful. Sending 70% of high school graduates to college has cheapened both the high school diploma, college attendance and a college degree.

paminwi said...

From Winding Down: "The opportunity to learn exists in most every school.
A critical element is parent involvement ...teachers cannot compensate for unwilling-to-learn students of disinterested parents."

Parents who can't speak English have a hard time participating the the education of their children. I have worked at places where many of the employees ONLY speak Spanish and they have been in this country for years and they all have children in schools! And yes, I am expanding that statement to the country as a whole. If you, as a parent don't take the time to learn the language you CAN NOT support your child's education to a great degree except to make sure they get to school. Parent teacher conferences, PTA (or whatever they call it these days), support for whatever groups/clubs their children belong to is nonexistent.

This starts in elementary school and only get worse as their children progress through high school because then the students need their parents less and less for anything.

And now, the Justice Dept. is saying it is not essential to be able to speak English clearly to teach in this country! Well, no wonder we are going to hell in a handbasket!

http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2011/09/obama-doj-takes-action-moves-in-to-protect-teachers-with-unacceptable-english-skills/

Milwaukee said...

Another problem is the education-university-industrial complex. They are not even looking for "magic bullets". I told this story just this last spring, while enrolled as a doctoral student in education at a Big 10 university. Years ago my uncle had carpal tunnel surgery, with a good 10 inches of incisions on his right wrist. When he was having the stitches out, he asked the doctor when he should schedule for the left hand. The doctor told him to wait 6 months. Six months later the surgery had three incisions, involving 2 stitches, 2 stitches and 3 stitches. I told this story and asked "When are we going to do something like that?" The uniform answer was that we were not. Every paper written as an assignment, or submitted for a conference or publishing, must reference repeatedly others in the field. No one is allowed to break ranks and charge off in a new direction, unless they are already a giant in the field.

Milwaukee said...

Schools of education tend to be dumb. The School of Education at UW-Milwaukee, until a couple of years ago, had their web site proclaiming they were all about "social justice". I asked one of the professors why, if they were concerned about social justice, they weren't at Marquette? It has both a theology department and a law school.

Schools of Education are full of socialist-progressives who are out to change the world through subterfuge.

Milwaukee said...

Then we have this article, "Grade Inflation for Education Majors and Low Standards for Teachers
When Everyone Makes the Grade"

found at
http://www.aei.org/outlook/101072

Colleges of education are truly waging a war on grade inflation, and when they are done, everybody will have an A and grade inflation will be a worry of the past. Those with the lowest ACT/SAT scores can be found majoring in education. Those with the lowest GRE scores are found there as well. As a result the courses are made ridiculous, and brighter students are discouraged.

Teachers unions and their allies have created huge barriers to access for those wishing to enter the teaching professor. At the Madison Area Technical College I had a wonderful instructor who had a doctorate in physics. He decided he wanted to go into teaching. For him to teach high school, he would have needed to go two full years at UW-Madison, full time. So he teaches at the technical college instead, probably makes more money and has fewer hassles.

I'm sure that he taught quite a few classes while getting his doctorate. He knew how to teach.

Milwaukee said...

Have you ever heard of "continuous pagination"? If a journal publishes more than once a year, they may either start the page numbering fresh with each issue during the year, or start at "1" with the first journal of the volume year, and start the next one where the first one left off. This is continuous pagination. We were warned that if we cited a journal which used continuous pagination by giving Vol. No. and page, we could be marked down from an A. The professors in the college of education are not so interested in the content of your paper as they are in how it cites others. I would say that the professors I met in the college of education constituted a pack of pompous preening peacocks.

Milwaukee said...

One of my new business ventures is going to be "Cite It Rite". Once upon a time being tenured required being published. But now the number of places one can be published has grown exponentially, the next criterion is the number of times your paper is actually cited. For a small fee, I will write an article which cites an article of your choice, and my article will be published. There are vanity presses, you know. This will only cost you a small $2.50 per month fee, if you use that article in getting you assistant professorship tenure position. That is $2.50 a month for as long as you hold a tenured position at that institution. Once you become a full professor the fee goes to $5 a month.

I figure I can cite 20 people an article, easily. Write a few articles, and baby, I'm set for life. Of course, I'll also cite big names in the field who aren't paying me. Nothing liking throwing mud on the whole mess.

For a little extra, I can write more articles which cite the article which cites you, so that really means people are reading your stuff.

Mark said...

The last paragraph of the Times article says:

For critics, the exam results as well as its continuing ethnic and gender score gaps are evidence of the nation's flawed emphasis on standardized tests.

I would say that the "evil" standardized tests are the only thing that is holding back an even bigger decline in knowledge.

Hey, but Jerry Brown has the solution - California state paid scholarships for illegal aliens.

I cannot wait to get the heck out of this state.

Quasimodo said...

the problem is not with teacher unions, although they certainly are not a help. The problem is not the teachers because on average they are ....well, average, and that is good enough to get good results. the problems are the increasingly sub par homes and cultures the kids come out of.

Jube said...

@Milwaukee "continuous pagination"

I'm imagining some sort of neverending maypole.

TomB said...

Time to re-adjust the test so the average score jumps 100 points or so again next year. They've done this at least once since I took it in 1990, plus they added sections and changed the max score from 1600 to 2400. Nothing like removing all bases of comparison in order to make scores seem higher, and more importantly, make students feel better about themselves.

Jube said...

Thanks Ann,

I always get a boost being reminded that my score out of 1600 is still better than the average score out of 2400!

Jube said...

Not sure how I feel about seeing TomB's post directly above mine

Milwaukee said...

Quasimodo

Right you are. Communities with stable, two-parent families are going to have better schools, and produce better students, than communities lacking those features.

rcommal said...

It is an enlightening experience to compare good-quality homeschooling at a particular grade level with what the home-schooled child's friends in the same grade are doing in school.

Christy said...

@DBQ, Some schools are returning to vocational tracks. Sister teaches at the second worst school in the district. They have been given a fairly free rein at trying anything to bring up their graduation rates and test scores. Sis runs the program that includes cosmetology, plumbing and construction. She told me of one kid saved by a HVAC. Still, they must all take the core subjects and everyone takes "ACT Prep."

From what I hear from her, it sounds like the social systems themselves fail the children. Do you know that there are books and classes about teaching to kids in poverty? It is a specialty and not every teacher can handle it. Sis had to take over all the geometry classes last year because the young man teaching them was failing miserably. He is a bright guy who knew his subject and had good teaching skills, but, as sister told me, he could not connect to the students and if a teacher cannot connect, the students won't listen. A retired physicist from ORNL taught a couple of years, but couldn't take it.

What I take away from all this is that no matter the quality of the teacher, they cannot succeed in a system for which teachers have responsibility but no authority.

I advocate returning to corporal punishment.

Milwaukee said...

Christy:From what I hear from her, it sounds like the social systems themselves fail the children. Do you know that there are books and classes about teaching to kids in poverty? It is a specialty and not every teacher can handle it.

Yes, teaching to children living in poverty is different. I saw a flyer on that: it asked what are the parents worried about? Are they worried about getting the child into the "right" pre-school, so they can get into the "right" school, and "right" prep-school, and "right" college? Or are the parents worried about who's going to be with whom in the car pool for soccer practice? Or is the parent worried about rounding up quarters to do laundry, and how to watch the children and not get their laundry stolen?

Young Black women who have children before 1) graduating from high school, 2) getting married and 3) getting a job, have a 96% chance of living their lives in poverty. Yet they do that frequently.

The town I used to live in had this vaccination clinic, once a month, at 8 a.m. The City Health Department, with volunteer help from local physicians offices would put it on. They were very efficient and effective. In the elementary school district with the highest unemployment they had to repeat the clinic at 2 p.m., because the moms and dads couldn't handle the 8 a.m. clinic. That elementary school was the only one without a parent-teacher association.

So in the nicer elementary schools, the parents had raised money for better playground equipment, or ceiling fans for the non-air-conditioned classrooms. Is it fair that the poor children had a crappy playground and no ceiling fans while the nicer schools had them? Is it fair that these parents put out the effort to make things nicer for their children, and somebody else would come along and demand the same for the lazy parents?

john marzan said...

Asians pulling away in SAT scores

http://isteve.blogspot.com/2011/09/asians-pulling-away-in-sat-scores.html

BJM said...

@Pogo

More of the same.

Yep..and we're the crazy ones.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

DBQ: What is the point of just taking up space?

If all they take up in school is space, maybe they could become astronauts.

BJM said...

@Milwaukee

So in the nicer elementary schools, the parents had raised money for better playground equipment, or ceiling fans for the non-air-conditioned classrooms. Is it fair that the poor children had a crappy playground and no ceiling fans while the nicer schools had them? Is it fair that these parents put out the effort to make things nicer for their children, and somebody else would come along and demand the same for the lazy parents?

As crazy as that sounds, it's exactly what was decided in CA in the 80's. It was mandated that parents couldn't raise money for or donate to any school activities, equipment or infrastructure because it wasn't fair to make parents who didn't give a shit look bad.

The educational class suffers from a bad case of "Tall Poppy Syndrome".

I'd hate to be 25 and facing the future these educational nincompoops have wrought with their half baked social engineering.

Winding down said...
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Estragon said...

The falling scores cannot be attributed to "failure of parental participation" because there is another measure. In the international comparison, our third grade (8 year old) students are near the world's top. By the eighth grade, they are at the bottom of industrialized countries.

The kids didn't change parents in five years.

Alex said...

What is the breakdown by race?