Why The Low Test Scores?
Why the low test scores (Columbus Dispatch) Recent years have brought on all sorts of speculation why the college entrance aptitude test scores are going down, each of them probably just as wrong - or right? - as the next one. No one really knows at this point. But, inasmuch as it is the Scholastic Aptitude Test, one of the few nalionwide measures of academic performance among Hie ablest American high school students which is at question, some sounder answers need be found. Up lu a year ago, well over half of high school graduates went on to college and more than a million take the SAT each year to show thcv are worthy of admission. In 1964, SAT scares showed a slight decline from the previous year, a decline lhat continued and which has accelerated since 1970. Last year, the decline was the sharpest -- 10 points in Hie verbal section from urn and eight points in the mathematics examination section. That din may not have had much impact on the students, but it has become a matter of serious concern to (heir parents, most of whom likelv took the SAT themselves. College administrators who use the lest scores predictor of academic success and, thus as a determining factor in which students toadmit are, understandably concerned at what has happened Slill, there is room for another question as to whether the students' aptitude, in contrast to achievement, is down at all. Achievement is up in some disciplines. The mystery is no more tolerable to the College t-ntrance Examination Board which devised the initially 75 years ago and has been administering nationally since 192G. H feels it has meticulously maintained the SAT as a good process of pretesting and cross- checking and finds it difficult lo see how the traditional controls could go awry. Bui, then, what has been traditional may no suffice. That has happened in other experiences recent years. Perhaps the blue-ribbon committee recently set by the board to probe the falling scores will find what is wrong, or if, indeed, anything is wrong. To not know is less tenable in Ihis situation know Ihe worst. Any answers the committee might come up may also be speculative, yet should narrow the of doubt.