The SAT flatlines

2010 College-Bound Seniors Results Underscore Importance of Academic Rigor, Press release, College Board, September 13, 2010.

Some things change, and then there is the SAT, where for the umpteenth year in a row, scores are flat. Average scores for the class of 2010 were 501 in critical reading, 516 in math, and 492 in writing. But the real story here has to do with curriculum. Students who benefit from a core curriculum—defined as at least four years of English, and three each of math, natural science, and history—score significantly higher than those who don’t: roughly fifty points in reading, math, and writing. This boost was only topped by one other: students in honors or AP level classes, which tended to see a higher scores on all three tests even from taking unrelated advanced classes. For example, students who were or had taken AP/honors in the natural sciences scored sixty-seven points higher than average in critical reading. But the point is the same: Skills like reading are best taught—or even only can be taught—in the context of high-quality rigorous content.

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