Responding to Annoying Liberal Remarks on Facebook, VI

One of my repeat offenders has struck again. This time, he is claiming that Virginia and the four other states who have disallowed collective bargaining for teachers also hover at the bottom of the pack when it comes to SAT scores. But the College Board’s position on state-by-state comparisons is pretty damned clear:

“The SAT is a strong indicator of trends in the college-bound population, but it should never be used alone for such comparisons because demographics and other nonschool factors can have a strong effect on scores.”

And indeed, when you look at each state’s report, you see significant differences in the testing population from state to state. Let’s look at the 2010 data for Wisconsin first:

Mean score: 1778 (R/W/M)
Number of test takers: 3,002
Ethnicity: 87% White or Asian
ESOL percentage: 8%
Percent with family income below $40 K: 11%
Percent who have a parent with a bachelor’s or higher: 83%

Now let’s look at the 2010 data for Virginia:

Mean score: 1521 (R/W/M)
Number of test takers: 59,031
Ethnicity: 67% White or Asian
ESOL percentage: 6% (Here in NOVA, I’m sure that percent is much higher.)
Percent with family income below $40 K: 19%
Percent who have a parent with a bachelor’s or higher: 61%

Virginia’s sample is 1866% larger than Wisconsin’s — and it is a documented fact that average SAT scores are inversely proportional to the number of students who are taking the test. Virginia’s students are also poorer, and their parents are less educated. And let’s not shrink from the reality that the achievement gap between white students and African-American students is going to have more of an impact on Virginia’s average score. Comparing Virginia’s test population to Wisconsin’s is not even comparing apples to oranges — it’s comparing apples to pianos. The College Board is right to declare such comparisons invalid.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Responding to Annoying Liberal Remarks on Facebook, VI

  1. I take it this guy is arguing that you get better teachers if they have the power of collective bargaining (i.e. you keep better teachers employed for you if they're paid better).

    If that's his argument, I would limit my response to the point that urban schools do way worse on standardized testing despite having MUCH higher salaries for teachers (NYC, for example pays many tenured teachers 6 figures to stay but the students don't prioritize learning because their parents don't prioritize it).

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s