Class of 2007 SAT Scores Reaffirm Need for Increased Accountability in High Schools

The College Board released the SAT test scores for the class of 2007 this week. For the second consecutive year, there was a decline in reading and math scores. Writing scores were also down from last year. U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings says the declines reaffirm the need for 'greater accountability and increased rigor' in U.S. high schools.

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2007 SAT Scores

Test Section Average SAT Score 06 Average SAT Score 07
Critical Reading 503 502
Mathematics 518 515
Writing 497 494

Source: College Board

Average SAT scores are down around the nation. At a press conference earlier this week, College Board (creators and administrators of the SAT) downplayed the declines, saying that the diversity of SAT test takers is pushing scores down.

It is true that the class of 2007 had the most diverse test taking group thus far-minority students comprised 4 out of 10 SAT test takers. The number of high school students who speak a primary language other than English also increased significantly. Of the 1.5 million students who sat for the exam, 24 percent of them did not speak English as their first language exclusively.

But with many of the minority groups, including Asian-Americans (+4), Mexican-Americans (+1), Other Hispanics (+1), and Other (+3) students, there was an increase in critical reading scores.

U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, while acknowledging the larger group and diversity of test takers, said in a statement that the decline in SAT test scores is 'unacceptable'.

'The College Board's recently released SAT test scores for the class of 2007 reaffirm the need for greater accountability and increased rigor in our nation's high schools in order to prepare students for college and the workforce,' said Spellings.

The Secretary goes on to say that a two year decline in reading and math is unacceptable given the fact that 90 percent of the fastest growing jobs require a college education-something students will be hard pressed to get if they can't score high enough on the most widely taken college entrance exam.

President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act was supposed to increase students' proficiency in the reading and math arena, but if SAT scores, ACT scores, and recent studies are any indication, the law has failed miserably.

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