Verbal scores are now down to 1994 levels. This year's mean score on the verbal portion was 502, dropping one point. Math scores also dropped three points to 515.
Did you know that the SAT was recentered back in 1995 to disguise the disturbing fact that scores had plummeted since the high water mark of 1963. Verbal scores had dropped so low that the College Board, which administers the test, boosted scores by 80 points. They boosted math scores by 20 points.
So this year's scores of V502 and M515 equate to a scores of 422 for the verbal portion and 495 for math. Both scores are below the traditional average of 500. Verbal scores are now below the 1994 level. Thank you whole language and balanced literacy. Math is still about 18 points above 1994 levels thanks to calculators whose use is now permitted during the test.
Here is a plot of mean SAT scores from 1951/52 to 1993/94 using the old scale.
Something very bad happened in education between 1963 and 1980. Something we haven't recovered from.
The Times reports some of the excuses being made for the lower scores:
The declines for the class of 2007 were not caused by a single factor, College Board officials said. But the increase in the number of traditionally underrepresented minority and low-income students taking the test played a role, they said. So did a new requirement in Maine that all high school seniors take the exam, including those who would not in the past have viewed themselves as college bound.
Here's the minority group breakdown courtesy of the Times: