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College Board Scores Are Starkly Lower/Higher

From the NEA's Associated Press:

Drop in SAT scores biggest in 31 years

By JUSTIN POPE, AP Education Writer Tue Aug 29, 2006

The high school class of 2006 recorded the sharpest drop in SAT scores in 31 years, a decline that the exam's owner, the College Board, said was partly due to some students taking the newly lengthened test only once instead of twice.

Fatigue wasn't to blame, the College Board insisted, even though this year's class was the first to take a new version of the exam which added an essay. It now takes an average of three hours and 45 minutes to complete the test, not counting breaks, up from three hours previously…

The average critical reading score fell from 508 to 503, while math dropped from 520 to 518. On the new SAT writing section, the class scored 497 on average, with girls scoring 11 points higher than boys…

In addition to the new writing section, the exam taken by the class of 2006 had other new features, including higher-level math and the elimination of analogies.

The College Board noted the drop in math scores amounts to one-fifth of one test question, and the reading to one-half of one question. But over about 1.5 million test-takers such drops are significant, and this was the biggest year-to-year decline since the class of 1975.

The results come two weeks after it was announced the class of 2006 had posted the biggest score increase in 20 years on the rival ACT exam. The ACT, which is also accepted by almost all colleges that require standardized tests, is generally more focused on material covered in high school classes than the SAT, which is more of a measure of general ability. But more students in traditional SAT states like Connecticut and New Jersey appear to be taking both exams to try to improve their applications to selective colleges…

And aforementioned report via the Associated Press:

ACT scores highest since 1991

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

(AP) — The high school class of 2006 posted the biggest score increase on the ACT college entrance exam in 20 years, and recorded the highest scores of any class since 1991.

Average composite scores on the exam, which measures students' readiness for college-level work, rose to 21.1 from 20.9 last year. Both boys and girls posted gains, as did all racial groups except Hispanics, whose scores held steady. ACT scores range from 1 to 36.

Officials at the independent, nonprofit ACT said an increase of 0.2 points is significant when considered across a record 1.2 million test-takers nationwide, or 40 percent of graduating seniors.

"It takes an enormous amount of change for that large a group to move even a little bit, particularly when that group is changing and we're seeing more students take the ACT for the first time," said Richard Ferguson, CEO of the Iowa City, Iowa-based organization.

Some of the improvement may come from the ACT's growing popularity among high-achieving students in states where the rival SAT exam has traditionally been more popular. The ACT is more attractive to some students because it focuses more on material covered in high school classes than on general ability…

Of course one can expect some disparity between the two college board exams.

But what are the odds that they would both set records, but in the opposite direction?

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, August 29th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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