Falling SAT Reading Scores Underscore the Importance of Reading Education

Gaston Caperton runs an organization that is seen as the bane of every high schoolers existence.  The College Board, of which Caperton is President, bring us everything from AP Exams to CLEP Tests to the SAT.  If you’re in high school, you’re touched in some way, by the work these guys do.

Late last year, the College Board released some disturbing news.  The class of 2012 had the worst SAT Reading scores since 1972.  For all the work we’ve been doing to help improve education, are we really no better than we were 40 years ago?  Mr. Caperton thinks so.

Thankfully, the news wasn’t all bad.  SAT Math scores were up five points compared to 1972.  A small improvement but at least we’re not moving down.

What are we doing wrong?

I ask myself this question a lot.  At Primavera, we struggle daily trying to engage students to learn online where literacy is a critical component of their success.  With 80% completion rates, we like to think we’re doing something right.

At one time or another, all of us have sat down to take on one subject and found it was harder to understand what the question was actually asking than it was to determine the answer.  If the student can’t read the test or the instructions, how can we effectively gauge if they learned the material?

Jenn Bates at The Collegiate Times reports that 14% of adults in the U.S. are illiterate.  Sadly, those at the lowest literacy level are almost 10 times more likely to be living below the poverty line and are more than three times more likely to receive food stamps.

The SAT outcome last year should start a revolution.  We all need to do more to support reading education at all levels.

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