College Admissions Tests Show Test-Driven Schooling Failure

Status: 
Current Issue
Subject: 
University Testing

FairTest Examiner, November 2013

 Another year of stagnant results on university admissions exams provides further evidence that test-driven public education is not helping produce “college-ready” students. The average SAT score for the high school class of 2013 was essentially the same as in the previous year. Overall, SAT scores dropped by 20 points since 2006, when the test was revised to include a writing section. Gaps between racial groups increased, often significantly, over that period. ACT scores dropped slightly from 2012, sinking to the lowest level in five years.   

   Proponents of 'No Child Left Behind,' 'Race to the Top,' and similar state-level programs promised that a focus on high-stakes testing would boost college readiness. At the same time, they said, score gaps between demographic groups would narrow. The data show a total failure according to their own measures.

   Doubling down on unsuccessful policies with more high-stakes K-12 exams, as Common Core assessment proponents advocate, will be an exercise in futility, not meaningful school improvement. http://fairtest.org/common-core-assessments-factsheet

  The number of SAT Tests administered to the Class of 2013 also declined from the previous year. At the same time, students taking the rival ACT increased by 133,000.
 

2013 COLLEGE-BOUND SENIORS SAT SCORES --with score changes from 2006*

 
    READING MATH WRITING TOTAL  
ALL TEST-TAKERS   496 (- 7) 514 (- 4) 488 (-  9) 1498 (-20)  
             
Female   494 (-  8) 499 (-  3) 493  (-  9) 1486 (- 20)  
Male   499 (-  6) 531 (-  5) 482  (-  9) 1512 (- 20)  
             
Asian, Asian Amer. or Pacific Islander   521 (+11) 597 (+19) 527 (+15) 1645 (+45)  
White   527 (   0) 534 ( -  2) 515 ( -  4) 1576 (-   6)  
African American or Black   431 (-  3) 429 (    0) 418 (- 10) 1278 (- 13)  
Amer. Indian or Alaskan Native                     480 (-  7) 486 (-   8) 461 (- 13) 1427 (- 28)  
Mexican or Mexican American   449 ( - 5) 464 ( -  1) 442 (- 10) 1355 (- 16)  
Puerto Rican   456 (-  3) 453 (-   3) 445 (-   3) 1354 (-   9)  
Other Hispanic or Latino   450 (-  8) 461 (-   2) 443 ( -  7) 1354 (- 17)  
                                 
  * High school graduates in the class of 2006 were the first to take the SAT “Writing” Test. The “No Child Left Behind” mandate to test every child in grades 3-8 and at least once in high school went into effect in the 2005-2006 academic year.          
Calculated by FairTest from: College Board, College-Bound Seniors 2013: Total Group Profile Report and College-Bound Seniors 2006: Total Group Profile Report

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2013 COLLEGE-BOUND SENIORS SAT SCORES BY FAMILY INCOME

 

  READING MATH WRITING TOTAL
         
$ 0 -  $20,000 435 462 429 1326
$20,000 - $40,000 465 482 455 1402
$40,000 - $60,000 487 500 474 1461
$60,000 - $80,000 500 511 486 1497
$80,000 - $100,000 512 524 499 1535
$100,000 - $120,000 522 536 511 1569
$120,000 - $140,000 526 540 515 1581
$140,000 - $160,000 533 548 523 1604
$160,000 - $200,000 539 555 531 1625
More than  $200,000 565 586 563 1714
         
Calculated by FairTest from: College Board, College-Bound Seniors 2013: Total Group Profile Report and College-Bound Seniors 2006: Total Group Profile Report

   
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2013 COLLEGE-BOUND SENIORS AVERAGE ACT SCORES

Approximately 1.799 million test takers
    COMPOSITE
SCORE
    FIVE-YEAR
SCORE
TREND
          (2009 – 2013)
           
ALL TEST-TAKERS   20.9   - 0.2  
             
African-American       16.9     0.0  
American Indian   18.0   - 0.9  
Asian   23.5   + 0.3  
Hispanic   18.8   + 0.1  
White   22.2     0.0  
Source:  ACT, The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2013