SAT report shows less high school students ready for college

By on October 1st, 2013

Less than half of the high school class of 2013 in Florida and the nation are ready for college-level classes, according to a report.

An annual report released Thursday by the College Board stated that for the last five years, only 43 percent of high school graduating students who took the SAT were academically prepared for college course work.

The College Board, creator of the SAT—a college readiness exam which tests critical reading, mathematics and writing skills—released its annual “2013 SAT Report on College & Career Readiness,” which details state-by-state statistics about the condition of scores throughout the nation.

Of the 112,554 Florida students who took the test, the average student scored lower than the national average.

State officials did not look positively upon the results, which remained largely stagnant on average throughout the nation and in Florida.

“Of course, I think you’re always disappointed when you don’t see growth,” said Helen Muir, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction in Putnam County. “I think you use it as a thermometer that lets you know ‘this is what’s happening.’ It’s a moment in time.”

The results show that the mean scores in Florida were 492 in reading, 490 in math and 475 in writing on a 200 to 800 point scale.

Nationally, the scores averaged 496 in reading, 514 in math and 488 in writing.

“Our strategy is not to improve a test score,” Muir said. “The strategies we use to improve instruction are designed so students are college ready from high school to college.”

Jane Fletcher, director of accountability and policy research for the Florida Department of Education, said that when evaluating college-readiness, educators mostly use Florida’s state assessments, but that third-party standardized tests should be taken into account as well.

“I think there is also a place for assessment like the SAT and the ACT,” Fletcher said. “You know, the university system in Florida and across the nation have used those assessments for many years to help gauge the readiness of the students.”

In Florida, as is the case nationally, white and Asian students performed better on the SAT than Hispanics and blacks on average.

The College Board is currently spearheading a redesign of the SAT to eliminate cultural bias in the test, which will be implemented in 2015, according to a release by Kaplan Test Prep.

In Florida, Gov. Rick Scott signed an executive order halting the development of a statewide test tied to the Common Core State Standards.

Scott did, however, allow schools to continue implementing the Common Core education benchmarks.

“What the governor has done is he has asked Floridians to provide comment on the current standards,” said Fletcher. “He did this to see if there are any places where [the tests] have to be improved.”

Putnam County administrators and other state and federal educators need to implement a realistic strategy for improvement and not just hope for the best, she said.

“Hope without a strategy is just a dream,” Fletcher said.


Photo caption: Photo illustration. The College Board, creator of the SAT, recently released a report stating SAT scores for the graduating class have not change in the past five years in Florida and throughout the nation.

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