Dog Is To Cat As ____ Is To Kitten

Written by Jill Colvin on . Posted in Education, Posts.

SAT scores for New York City’s
class of 2007 were the lowest they’ve been since 2003, the Department of
Education announced this morning. The city’s public high school seniors scored
an average of 903 out of a possible 1600 on the test—an eight-point drop from
last year and the biggest decline in recent years. Students’ math scores
suffered most, falling ten points since 2003. Interestingly, city students’
state math and literacy tests scores have been steadily rising, leading many to
question whether graduates are really adequately prepared to handle
college-level instruction.

National-wide, the picture isn’t a heck of a lot prettier. Scores
dropped for the second year in a row, down four points, to an average of 1015.
Some are blaming the drop on test-taker exhaustion. Last year, the College Board
added 45 minutes to the test, ending a decade-long trend of rising scores. But
officials from the College Board downplayed the drop, saying that the scores
were “in the normal range” and that the drop from last year is statistically
insignificant. They also announced that a record 1.49 million students wrote
the SATs this year
, including more individuals who speak languages other than
English and more low-income students who qualified to write the test for free. “The
larger the population you get that takes the exam, it obviously knocks down the
scores,” Gaston Caperton, the president of the College Board, said. Um, well, unless
that population can read and do simple algebra, which all high school grads
should presumably be able to do.

Unsurprisingly, class and race still matter when it comes to achievement.
Students who said that they did not plan to apply for financial aid
significantly outperformed those who did, scoring 29 points higher in critical
reading and 40 points higher in math. The average combined reading and math
score for white students was also nearly 200 points higher than the average for

Photo courtesy of ccaristead on Flickr