Unimproved results on high school state tests taken by public school students across the country indicate that efforts at educational reform in the past decade, such as the “No Child Left Behind” campaign and the new Common Core curriculum, are not making drastic changes as expected. “Simply doing the same things we have been doing is not going to improve these numbers,” said Cynthia Schmeiser, chief of assessment at the College Board. “This is a call to action to do something different to propel more students to readiness.” So, then, is it the stagnant educational system that is causing these SAT drops? Or perhaps something more complex?
Experts who have been closely following the trends in score patterns have hypothesized that the drop the product of, at least partially, poverty, language barriers, and low levels of parental education and involvement. The gaps between scores of private and public school students demonstrate the correlation between wealth and SAT scores. Public schools in poorer districts Washington, D.C., that often do not prepare their students with necessary skills due to lack of resources, show much lower scores, than say, Sidwell Friends School, where the average student comes from a well-to-do family. In 2013, the District began offering the SAT and ACT to high school juniors and seniors for free; however, despite having nearly 5,000 students take the test, the scores have been also steadily dropping. In Virginia and Maryland, the number of students taking the SAT has stayed the same.
While national scores have dropped significantly, average scores from Bullis students have stayed relatively constant over the last five years, even increasing noticeably in some years. In this year’s graduating class, the Class of 2016, the average score of SAT tests taken before October was 1748, much higher than the national average. In fact, the 2015 score is nearly thirty points higher than the average score for the 2012’s graduating class. Evidently, Bullis students have not been following the trend of declining scores seen around the country.