What to Look for In Class of 2014 SAT Scores

for further information:
Bob Schaeffer    (239) 395-6773                                                                                                                        
cell:    (239) 699-0468


for immediate release, Thursday, October 2, 2014


Average SAT scores for students who graduated in the high school class of 2014 are scheduled for public release next Tuesday, October 7 at 3:00 am EDT. The test’s sponsor, the College Board, typically tries to focus attention on minor year-to-year changes or on peripheral issues, which have little practical significance. More important are multi-year trends, which provide a better sense of overall direction. Here are five major issues that the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest), the leading U.S. assessment reform organization, will be tracking.

What do SAT score trends indicate about the effectiveness of test-driven public schooling in enhancing college readiness? Students in the high school class of 2014 were in kindergarten when the controversial “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB) law was signed. Proponents promised significant gains in college readiness from the federal test-and-punish requirements. Do admissions exam averages over the past decade support that claim?

Has a decade of high-stakes testing led to narrower racial, gender and income “achievement gaps”?Do SAT trends show the reduction of score differences between demographic groups promised by NCLB proponents? Similarly, has a focus on test-preparation reduced the strong correlation between admissions exam scores and family income?

How much of the score gaps between demographic groups result from inequitable access to high-priced SAT coaching courses?What is the evidence that the revised exam will be any less susceptible to test prep “steroids” or be a more accurate and fairer predictor of college academic performance?

How much further has the SAT fallen behind the ACT as the nation’s most widely administered admissions exam?  What role did the loss of dominant market share play in the College Board’s decision to revise the SAT less than a decade after the previous overhaul?Why does the current SAT still include a “Writing” test when the upcoming revision recognizes that it is not useful and plans to eliminate the requirement?

Why are more colleges and universities dropping admissions testing requirements? In the past year, another 14 schools have adopted “test-optional” policies, boosting the number dropping ACT/SAT requirements since the last overhaul of the tests to more than 100. The total of accredited, bachelor-degree granting institutions that do not require all or many applicants to submit standardized exam scores for admissions now tops 840 (see http://www.fairtest.org/university/optional).

Look for a news release and charts summarizing major score data and trends at http://www.fairtest.org once SAT results are publicly available.


Please feel free to call on FairTest at any time to discuss SAT scores or other assessment issues including Common Core exams, opt-out campaigns, test errors and cheating.