Rice education expert available to discuss 40-year low in SAT scores

David Ruth

Amy Hodges

Rice education expert available to discuss 40-year low in SAT scores

With SAT scores at a 40-year low, what can be done to halt declining test scores? Rice University education expert Linda McSpadden McNeil is available to answer this question and others about standardized testing in the United States. 

”The reported drop in SAT scores raises serious questions about the effectiveness of the reforms begun in Texas in the mid-1990s and later adopted nationally through the No Child Left Behind Act,” McNeil said. 

These policies linked the assessment of children’s learning, teacher and school effectiveness and administrator job performance on computer-scored, standardized test in an ”accountability” system predicated on the idea that if the stakes are high, students, their teachers and school principals will all work harder. Thus, children’s graduation, principals’ pay and even the continued existence of the school all depended on scores from a single test. 

”Research studies since the inception of high-stakes, standardized accountability have shown that many schools have become test-score factories rather than sites for serious, in-depth learning,” McNeil said. ”These latest SAT scores again raise the question of what our children are learning in standardized schools and whether the rich, complex content they need to prepare for college and 21st century jobs is being fostered by a curriculum increasingly driven by multiple-choice tests.”

McNeil is director of Rice University’s Center for Education and a professor of education. Formerly on the faculty of the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, she has been a visiting scholar at Stanford University and a visiting professor at the University of Washington

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