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Los Angeles Times: SAT Reading and Math Scores Down in 2011

By Deborah Newburn
Los Angeles Times
September 14, 2011

More bad news on the national education front: The College Board announced Wednesday that the mean SAT reading score for the high school class of 2011 fell 3 points from 2010′s mean — to 497, making it the lowest reading score since 1972.

The average math score dipped to 489, 1 point lower than last year. And the mean writing score dropped 2 points from last year’s score.

And then there’s this: The board found that just 43% of college-bound seniors met the SAT benchmark score of 1550 (the critical-reading, mathematics and writing scores combined). The benchmark score indicates that a student has a 65% likelihood of achieving a B- or higher during the first year of college. And remember, that’s 43% of students who are planning to go to college.

Not awesome.

In a statement sent to news outlets, Jeanne Allen, president of the Center for Education Reform, articulated what some people might feel after reading the SAT report. “Student achievement remains stagnant and we continue to let failure fester in our education system, jeopardizing the future of our children and our country,” she said.

The organization that offers the ACT, the nation’s other college-entrance exam, recently announced that just 25% of students who took its test met all four of that group’s readiness benchmarks.

But the College Board managed to put some positive spin on the seemingly dire statistics. In the news release, the board pointed out that more college-bound students in the class of 2011 took the SAT than any other high-school graduating class in history. Also, the class of 2011 was the most diverse class in history to take the SAT.

According to the College Board, as different types of students start taking the SAT, it is inevitable that scores will go down. But the board

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