Our Failing Public Schools Dr. Mike Charles Pacific University

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  • Our Failing Public SchoolsDr. Mike CharlesPacific University

  • For the first time in the history of our country, the educational skills of one generation will not surpass, will not equal, will not even approach those of their parents.Paul Copperman (cited in A Nation at Risk, National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983, p. 11)

  • Data from SAT scores

    [From 1950-1989] we probably experienced the worst educational decline in our history. Between 1963 and 1980, for example, combined average SAT scoresscores which test students verbal and math abilitiesfell 90 points, from 980 to 890.William Bennett (The Devaluing of America, 1992, p. 55)

  • The dataSee Average SAT Scores by year handout

  • The data

  • How much of a decline?6-9 questions in a 138 question testLess than 5% decreaseRelatively flat since 1975

  • Is it fair to compare?Disclaimer at the beginning of the SAT booklet--not equivalent groupsTest taken by a self-selected group--college bound seniorsComparison group for this norm referenced exam scored in 1941How is the group applying to go to college in 1941 different than the group applying in 2001?

  • SAT level means successLevel SAT scores for this ever increasing number of students argues for the tremendous success of the public education systemOnly one subpopulation group has seen a decline in scoresWhites from 944 to 938--about 1 question--from 1976-1993All other groups rising

  • SAT subpopulation scores

  • SummarySAT is a very limited measureA large shift in SAT scale scores means only a small shift in the number of SAT questions answered correctlyAggregate SAT scores should not be used for judging the performance of schools, districts, states, or nationsDisaggregated SAT scores suggest that student achievement has either been steady or climbing in the past 18 years

  • SourceThe Manufactured Crisis by David Berliner and Bruce Biddle. Chapter 1. Addison Wesley: Reading, Massachusetts, 1995


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