It's a sad state for standardized tests. City and state SAT scores have plummeted for the fourth year in a row, according to new data.
The city's average score on each 800-point section of the SAT has plunged 18 points in math, to 459, and 13 points in reading, to 435, after reaching a peak in 2005.
Scores on the writing component of the test, which began in 2006, fell six points, to 432.
While state and county scores have continued to outpace the city's by nearly 70 points in each section, they too have experienced declines in the last four years, though not as prominent as the drops in city scores. The city average continues to fall more than 55 points below the national average for SAT scores, reports the Daily News.
For the last two years, city education officials have attributed the plummeting test scores to the increasing number of students taking the tests. They've also said school initiatives have encouraged more black and Hispanic students – kids who may not have planned to go to college in the past – to take the test, which has contributed to the drop.
"We're expanding the group of kids, and it's becoming much more representative of the entire student population," NYC Education Department spokesman Andy Jacob told the News. "It's clear that in the past the kids who took the SATs were much more likely ot be the highest performing kids from the most selective schools."
"Now we need to focus on raising SAT scores across the board," he added.
Indeed. The most recent data indicate a vast achievement gap between white students and black and Hispanic students.
Since 2005, the gap has extended by about 20 points in math and reading, reports The New York Post. White students now score nearly 100 points higher in reading and about 108 points higher in math than black and Hispanic students.
While the average scores for white and Asian students either went up or stayed the same this year, those for black and Hispanic test takers fell across all sections.
More than half of the seniors taking the SAT this year were black or Hispanic – a 2.5 percent increase from last year, reports the News.
It's certainly a plus that a more diverse group of students is taking the test, but the scores burst the bubble of officials who brag about black and Hispanic students' progress on standardized tests compared with their white and Asian counterparts.
"It certainly works against the persistent claim that the city is closing the achievement gap if they're obliged to argue that the reason scores are going down is that more minority kids are sitting for the exams," Columbia University education professor Aaron Pallas told the News.