09/02/06 — Real scores: Writing portion an important part of measuring progress

View Archive

Real scores: Writing portion an important part of measuring progress

Stories about test scores really worry parents โ€” and school districts.

So, the latest announcement that the new round of SAT scores is one of the lowest in a number of years did not make anyone too happy.

Experts say the lower scores are the result of changes in the test โ€” specifically the addition of a writing portion. They also say the test is harder and not really an accurate measure of the quality of the education students are receiving. Some students might not be quite at the level to succeed on a test that measures a studentโ€™s preparedness for college.

And whether you agree or not, the truth is that a harder SAT with a writing portion is good news for students, parents and schools.

Many employers complain that students come out of high school and college not really knowing how to write. They might have other deficiencies that can be covered in training, but communication skills are something just about all new hires seem to be lacking.

And those are skills almost every one will need.

Scoring a subjective measurement like a writing portion is tougher โ€” and making sure you have the skills necessary to score high on it is even tougher. But the benefit of turning out high school and college graduates who can communicate effectively is well worth the effort.

And well worth weathering a slippery score slope, for now.

Published in Editorials on September 2, 2006 11:47 PM