"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

New Jersey SAT Scores Lower Than National Average

Highest cost per public school student in the nation, SAT scores lower than the national average.

Seniors who finished high school last spring scored 520 out of a possible 800 on the math section, 2 points higher than the class of 2004. Average scores on the verbal section were unchanged at 508, according to results released Tuesday by the College Board, the nonprofit organization that owns the SAT.

New Jersey's graduates followed the same trend, though their scores were a bit lower than the national average. Seniors in the Garden State scored an average of 503 on the verbal section and 517 on math — both up from last year. In New Jersey, 86 percent of students take the SAT — a rate that trails only New York.

Let the excuses begin.

Update:
An overview of the 2005 SAT results from the College Board may be read here and the organization’s detailed New Jersey State Profile Report may be read here.

The excuses for New Jersey’s slightly below national average results on the SATs are coming in and the favorites are - more NJ students take the test than in other states and only the top students take the SATs in other states. No mention that New Jersey spends 35 percent more per student than the national average.

However, we would like to point out college-bound students took the SATs in all states and not just the top college-bound students. We haven’t found any evidence to suggest that non-college-bound students in New Jersey are taking the SATs.

This past year more students across the nation took the test than in previous years and yet the national average increased slightly. Over the past decade, the number of SAT takers increased by 408,000 students, or +38 percent—more than twice the growth rate for graduating seniors in the United States. During that period math scores have increased 14 points and verbal scores have increased 4 points. Based upon the more test takers equals lower scores theory, shouldn’t the nation’s average SAT scores have declined?

No doubt New Jersey’s top students are among the best and brightest in the country and have SAT scores reflecting their academic achievement. However, if we just confine our analysis to New Jersey’s SAT takers – apples to apples – we see no increase in SAT scores, while we see New Jersey’s average cost per student has increased by 33 percent over the past ten years.

It really doesn’t matter if you compare New Jersey’s student achievement to the nation as a whole or just within New Jersey - education spending is soaring, but results in the Garden State are not.



10 Comments:

At 2:47 AM, Anonymous Jim - PRS said...

Karl Rove and Halliburton, for sure.

 
At 6:02 AM, Blogger Ken Adams said...

I wouldn't really consider 503 lower than 508, or 517 vs 520, statistically significant. The range from 500 to 600 is 1 standard deviation, and 3-5% of a standard deviation is a pretty small move.

 
At 9:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No excuse necessary: Because more NJ students take the test, you get a lower average score. If only NJ's top students took the test - as happens in most other states - the scores would through the roof. Is that an excuse?

 
At 9:20 AM, Blogger Enlighten said...

Ken,
The fact that NJ scores are slightly below average or if you prefer, 3-5% below 1 standard deviation of average, is the point of the post. Do you think NJ's scores should be better than average considering the state spends more resources per student than any other state?

 
At 6:03 PM, Blogger Ken Adams said...

E,

Based on the test-taking population, I would expect state-wide SAT scores to be virtually indistinguishable from national averages. Statistically speaking, such a small move is likely not significant. I agree with your point that we should see some improvement for our 33% increase in spending per student, but SAT scores aren't likely to show anything meaningful over such a large sample.

 
At 11:16 AM, Blogger CJ said...

Assuming that throwing more money into education should increase SAT scores (not really a worthy goal IMO), then yes, NJ's should be higher. Since when has spending more money been a guarantee of better results? I suppose that was your original point, but since I am a product of NJ high schools I'm a little slow on the uptake. : )

 
At 6:21 PM, Blogger Jack said...

The anonymous commenter is right. In many states, only college bound students take the SATs, therefore, their scores are higher. However, in New Jersey, because we are sending so many kids to college (comparitively) there are many schools where virtually everyone takes the test. Montclair High for instance, sends at least 80% of its graduates to college, however, the avg SAT is pretty low. Not much higher than 1000 I believe.

- Jersey Perspective

 
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