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First SAT Test Since Largest Drop In Scores

5:21 PM, Oct 5, 2012   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) - Saturday morning, thousands of local high school seniors will be taking the SAT for the second time trying to improve their scores form last spring. The class of 2012 bombed the test with the lowest scores in history

Since 2008, critical reading scores dropped four points, and writing scores dropped 5 points. Math, at least was stable.

Some blame the falling SAT numbers on No Child Left Behind. They say it's dumbed down curriculum and is causing teachers to teach to their own mandated standardized tests. Dr. Sarah Irvine Belson, American University's Dean of Education, says there is some merit to that argument.

"I think policy makers should be making a decision based on the se SAT about what are we spending time in school doing," said Belson. But she does say there is a silver lining in the latest numbers. A record 1.66 million students took the test.

"The reality is more kids are taking the SAT then ever before. More variety of kids taking the SAT from all over the country. The have more opportunities to take the test. That's fabulous. The fact that we have such diversity in this country represents the fact that the SAT is changing, said Belson. 

American University is one of hundreds of universities that does not require the SAT. However, if an applicant take the test, the school has access to the score and will consider it.
  
Some colleges have found that focusing first on the whole person, their grades, essays, and extra curricular activities, and life experiences, will help them find the best students.

"I want kids to be great at writing. I want them to come here with passion and excitement about what they're studying," Dr. Belson explained that a high SAT score does not necessary indicate those things.

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