professornana (professornana) wrote,

The latest headline about education decries the drop in SAT scores.  You know what this means, right?  I heard it last night on various news stations.  A gravelly, concerned reported indicated scores were down which meant that kids were less than prepared for college.  I suspect the folks at CCSS popped some champagne corks at this news.  Hey, we told you kids were not ready for college.  Here's the proof.  There's just one small fact missing here:  SAT scores are not very giving a "forwarding" predictive of college success.  Here is something to consider:

"Promotional claims for the SAT I frequently tout the test's important place in the "toolbox" of college admissions officers trying to distinguish between students from vastly different high schools. Yet the true utility of the SAT I is frequently lost in this rhetoric as admissions offices search for a fair and accurate way to compare one student to another. Many colleges and universities around the country, in dropping their test score requirements, have recently confirmed what the research has shown all along - the SAT I has little value in predicting High school GPAs and class rank do a better job of predicting success." 

SAT scores account for less than 5% in college grade variance.  Even combined with the GPA and class rank from high school, there is a less than 20% correlation.  So, instead of focusing on SAT scores and once again decrying the sad state of our sschools, how about considering some other factors.

PBS is getting ready to run a special on high school dropouts.  Here is the web site with disturbing numbers:  Rather than continue to focus on SAT, how about we try to address the drop out issue.  If you believe the numbers that came home from our local high school, there is no drop out problem.  Year after year, we would get the numbers: fewer than 1% of our hgih school kids were dropping out.  Of course that is because a kid can withdraw himself legally or have parents withdraw her or him without giving a "forwarding address" for the new school.  Then, some claim there will be home schooling.  Kids are slipping through these loopholes (and there is incentive for these stats as state funds are tied to lower drop out rates).    Here is a number from that report:

"Among dropouts between the ages of 16 and 24, incarceration rates were a whopping 63 times higher than among college graduates, according to a study (PDF) by researchers at Northeastern University. To be sure, there is no direct link between prison and the decision to leave high school early. Rather, the data is further evidence that dropouts are exposed to many of the same socioeconomic forces that are often gateways to crime."
Tags: drop outs, scores, tests
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