Man, not only is America largely unemployed, living in poverty and going broke, but now our kids can’t even read apparently. SAT reading scores for graduating high school seniors this year reached the lowest point in nearly four decades, the College Board reported.
Pretty soon it’s going to come to this:
It’s not all bad news, however. As the Washington Post points out: “Nationally, the reading score for the Class of 2011, including public- and private-school students, was 497, down three points from the previous year and 33 points from 1972, the earliest year for which comparisons are possible. The average math score was 514, down one point from last year but up five from 1972.”
Reading is way down and math is up slightly. The College Board attests the reduced reading number to the growing number of students taking the test “whom are less prepared for college-level work or are learning English as a second language.”
“The good news is we have more students thinking about college than ever before,” James Montoya, a College Board vice president, told the WaPost. “Anytime you expand the number of students taking the SAT and expand it the way that we have — into communities that have not necessarily been part of the college-going culture — it’s not surprising to see a decline of a few points.”
Of course the College Board wants as many students taking the test as possible because it means more money in their pockets. More than half of all high school graduates — or 1.65 million students — took the exam. That was up from 47 percent in 2010, according to the College Board. Check out these incredible stats: 44 percent were minorities; 36 percent were the first in their family to go to college; and 27 percent did not speak English exclusively.
That’s positively incredible. College is important, and it seems like it’s becoming important for an entirely new wave of American immigrant families. Historically, it was college that allowed immigrant families to lift themselves up into America’s middle class (yup, that’s disappearing too!). Parents sacrificed everything to get their kids into college. Anyway, those stats are slightly encouraging on a certain level.
At the same time, in the past decade or so, the educational system in America has trended towards preparing students for all sorts of tests: SAT, ACT, state standardized comprehension tests, you name it. “Teaching to a test” is basically the bedrock of No Child Left Behind, isn’t it?
So couldn’t this dour news about the average reading score indicate that a teaching curriculum based around a standardized test isn’t working, to you know, actually educate America’s youth?