There’s some good news and some bad news according to new data just released by College Board. The good news: a record 1.66 million students took the SAT in the class of 2012. That certainly is encouraging, as it indicates greater exposure to the test by kids who otherwise wouldn’t have taken it.
However, that’s where the good news ends. The bad news is that only 43% of students who take the SAT are considered “college ready.” Those students, defined as those who had an aggregate score of 1550 or higher, are those predicted to have at least a 65% chance of achieving a B- or higher GPA in college.
Also discouraging: SAT scores are slowly but steadily falling. The class of 2012 scored a 496 in critical reading (down 1 point from 2011), a 514 in math (no change) and a 488 in writing (down 1 point). These scores are down even more significantly from 2008 scores (down 4 points in CR, no change in math and down 5 points in writing) and are both at low points – the reading score is at a 40-year low and the writing score is at its lowest point since it was introduced in 2005.
Getting students to raise their reading and writing scores is no easy task, especially given that students are about seven to eight times more likely to watch TV in a given day than they are to read a book.
So how can students boost reading and writing skills?
The most basic (and obvious) answer is to get students reading. If they don’t like books, encourage them to read magazines. If they don’t like magazines, encourage them to read news online. The point is that they should be reading something every day and thinking critically about it.
It’s also important to determine what learning style works best for students. Some kids are audio learners, others are visual learners, and still others are kinesthetic learners. Some students learn best with pen and paper, others on technology devices. If students are being taught to in a way that is not optimal for their learning style, they will likely not be engaged.
Students (and teachers and parents) should figure out that best learning style and use it when possible in study. At BrainMatriX, it’s what we call mastering your material. Instead of being taught to, students need to interact with material and make it their own. Once that happens, they can retain information more quickly and easily, and see test results start to go up.