SAT: 43% are college ready

Forty-three percent of SAT takers were prepared for college-level work, according to this year’s SAT Report on College & Career Readiness. Overall, scores were the same, but black and Hispanic students improved slightly.

Students who score 1550 or above on the three-part exam are likely to complete their degree.
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Blacks and Hispanics took less rigorous courses and earned lower grades. Only 27 percent of black students and 36 percent of Hispanics said they’d earned an A average compared to 60 percent of Asian-Americans and 53 percent of whites.

College Board officials aren’t blaming a larger, more diverse testing pool for the stagnating scores, notes CollegeBound. Diversity is an “excuse,” said David Coleman, president of College Board. “It’s time to really consider how to get many, many more students into rigorous coursework that will enable them to break through a performance freeze that is limiting opportunity.”

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Comments

  1. A couple of notes:

    -43%? That number seems unrealistic. The tried and true result of ~25% seems much more realistic, in my experience. Maybe The College Board is making the SAT easier over time?

    -“It’s time to really consider how to get many, many more students into rigorous coursework that will enable them to break through a performance freeze that is limiting opportunity.” Great idea, but in a world of individuals, what if those individuals simply have no interest in such things? And, taking what I said above, I’d guess that at least 57% (if not 75%) don’t, won’t, and never will, no matter how hard you try…

    • Only 1/2 of the graduating high school class of 2012 took the SAT. If we assume that this was mostly the kids toward the top of academic ability, then this means that about 22% of the high school class is ready for college using the College Board’s standard.

  2. TWS Garrison says:

    “Only 27 percent of black students and 36 percent of Hispanics said they’d earned an A average compared to 60 percent of Asian-Americans and 53 percent of whites.” Granted, this is people taking the SAT, not all high school juniors, but 40% or more of college-interested kids have an A average? Is this grade inflation, or are the kids lying?

    • I’d guess that the difference is more likely weighted vs unweighted GPAs.

       

      The 2012 high school graduation class was about 3.3M (but keep in mind that not all 18 year olds graduate high school).
      About 1/2 of these kids took the SAT.
      US News and World Report claims that the average high school GPA in 2009 was 3.1 for women and 2.9 for men … so about 3.0 for the kids as a whole.

       

      I can imagine a distribution that matches the data above and allows 53% of white SAT takers to have a GPA of 3.7 or above … assume that the average and median are the same, so only kids with a GPA of 3.0 and above take the SAT … then assume that the distribution is very bi-modal (lots of kids with 3.0s and lots of kids with 4.0s …). But I doubt it.

       

      Alternately, we could have an *unweighted* GPA average of 3.0 (as reported by USNWR) and a *weighted* GPA average a lot higher … say 3.3? Then, assuming that the kids taking the SAT are much more likely to take the classes that allow a higher *weighted* GPA and we have a range for SAT taking kids that is something like 3.3 on the low end to 4.5+ on the high end.

       

      This would allow for the reported GPAs without the kids lying. Now, I’d suggest that this *IS* a form of grade inflation (you’ve moved the range from 0-4 to 0-5, but don’t indicate any change) … and there is evidence of grade inflation over the last 20+ years as well.

       

      So … most likely a combination of raw grade inflation, weighted vs unweighted GPAs and a bit of self-selection of the SAT taking population.

      • Districts I’ve worked in (Boston Public) and a large sub-urban/rural in Colorado and know of through friends and family and moving; 3.0 to 3.2 is a typical median ( and fewer than maybe 15% F’s and D’s). I’ve seen “honor rolls” where 70% of the kids make it; even though 50% of the students are in the lowest two rungs of high stakes state exams.

        I agree with your analysis, also remember that we’ve got large school districts instituting policies like “no grade less than 50%), limiting teachers abilities to give F’s, 15 minutes of homework per night per subject or weekly maximums (I’ve seen 10 hours a week (cumulative) – even if the kid is all AP’s), social promotion. These are other indicators of why kiddos aren’t prepared for college.

        Of course it might be that “with technology the kids are more productive;” but I just don’t buy it.

  3. They have re-normed the SAT exam twice in the last thirty years, so that a lower score becomes a higher score.

    Given that only 43% are reported college ready, and I’ve posted what I consider a college ready student should actually be able to take and pass as a first year freshman,
    it seems if the old standard were used, probably only 20% (or 1 in 5) would actually be ready for college level coursework.

    These days, students can count on having a bleep-load of debt by the time they graduate, and depending on the degree awarded, questionable employment prospects.

    Ugh