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The Red Ledger

The online student news source of Lovejoy High School

The Red Ledger

The online student news source of Lovejoy High School

The Red Ledger

Texas SAT scores reach record low

Texas SAT scores are at a 22 year low for the math section. The reasons for this drop are unknown.
Ian Raybon
Texas SAT scores are at a 22 year low for the math section. The reasons for this drop are unknown.

With the PSAT on Wednesday, SAT scores and college readiness are on the minds of many students. However, this year’s recently released SAT information shows that Texas math scores have dropped to a 22 year low.

“The latest SAT results reaffirm that we must address the issue of preparedness much earlier and in a more focused way,” chief of College Board assessment Cyndie Schmeiser said to Dallas News. “Students in the Class of 2014 missed opportunities that could have helped more of them make successful transitions to college and career.”

The 2014 average math score for Texas was 495 out of 800, while the national average was 18 points higher. Texas also consistently falls below the U.S. standard in the writing and critical reading sections, and this year reading scores in Texas were the second lowest that they’ve been since 1992.

Although the drop could be alarming, it could be due to many factors making it difficult to determine if it’s a trend or a fluke.

“If more students took it [scores] could have been lower,” Algebra II teacher Deneen Christian said. “If they made the test more difficult it could be lower. It could be lower simply because students aren’t as well prepared. I know that they changed the SAT some. And my guess is that if they changed it, then that’s why it’s lower. Because then you don’t have a previous test that is more similar, and they change the questioning some.”

With the gap between the national average and Texas’s average growing, some opponents of House Bill 5 cite the cause of falling math scores as the change to graduation plans, which no longer require all students to take Algebra II. Others attribute the problem to not preparing for college in the classroom.

“That does not surprise me,” Tutoring 101 owner Tanya Donaghey said. “Because education has gone the direction of focusing on drills and memorization to prepare for standardized tests instead of teaching students to think. And the SAT tests whether or not students can think about what they’re reading and whether or not they can think through a math problem, instead of just memorizing how to do math. So that does not surprise me that scores aren’t climbing.”

Whatever the cause of the low scores in Texas, the importance of the critical thinking processes goes beyond the SAT.

“[Schools] should focus more on getting students ready for college and thinking more critically instead of meeting the low standards that are set by state tests,” Donaghey said.
“Students need to be prepared for innovation, future jobs, future success, and that requires us to be creating and doing things that are innovative. And that’s who people are hiring in the workforce, people who are young college grads who can come up with things. And when we keep preparing students to just memorize ways of doing things, then we’re not creating that critical process.”

Because of the importance of the SAT in determining college readiness, the scores leave room for improvement in Texas schools and as a result may bring change in the future for both students and educators.

“More Texas students are taking the SAT and AP exams because they have career aspirations that require education beyond high school,” Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams said to Dallas News in October. “As a state, our job should be to provide every student a solid foundation to assure they not only begin that dream, but can make it across the finish line at the post-secondary level.”

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Ian Raybon, Multimedia Editor
Ian Raybon figures that if Alicia Keys was a man, there would be a song apt enough to describe him because he is constantly on fire. Ian has tried to find a pig costume for Halloween, because his one true wish is to truly understand the bacon he takes so much time eating; turns out his hair works fine in that department as well. Ian’s life can generally be summed up by the song “In Da Club” by rapper 50 Cent, and he attributes his incredible intelligence to his mentor Mr. Higgins. He is not quite sure where he gets his incredible looks, but his parents get nervous every time he says the words “adopted” and “Michael Jackson’s son” in the same sentence. When Ian graduates, he expects a full ride scholarship to Cambridge where he will major in Thuganomics and minor in Womanizing.

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