Welcome to the Profit of Education website. Continuing the conversation begun in the book Profit of Education, we discuss the latest economic evidence on education reform.

Raising standards, SATs, and race

The draft accreditation standards for schools of education call for higher average SAT scores for teacher training programs. This raises an uncomfortable question about race. Students from racial minorities score lower on the SAT than do white students. Will the new standards reduce the number of minority students who become teachers? There’s not a definitive answer, but there’s good reason to worry.

The draft accreditation standards don’t have an SAT cutoff, but my back of the envelope calculations suggest that ed schools will largely be recruiting from students with SAT’s above 880 (old scale). I made a table from Baccalaureate and Beyond that breaks down SAT’s by race.

SAT above cutoff by raceOnly about two-thirds as many black students score above 880 when compared to white students. For Hispanic students the number is closer to a half. So there is real cause for concern.

But a reminder: The new accreditation standards set an average SAT goal. They don’t set a cutoff that applies to any particular student. Ed schools are free to recruit low SAT students who have other good characteristics, so long as they bring in enough high SAT students. The numbers do suggest that we could lose a lot of minority teacher candidates is admission committees aren’t paying attention to the situation.

(Thanks go to Brian Jacob for nudging me to make this table.)

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3 Responses to Raising standards, SATs, and race

  1. Sigh. You really don’t think much about credentialing tests, do you?

    The Higher Education Act of 1998 or so made a change that resulted in all ed schools requiring that their candidates pass the credentialing tests before they enter the program. The credentialing pass rates are quite dismal. The ed schools can make whatever “adjustments” they like–of course, you do know that affirmative action is illegal in a few states, right?–but a degree is nothing without the credential, and the URM passing rates on the credential test are a bloodbath.

    http://educationrealist.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/radio-silence-on-clarence-mumford/
    http://educationrealist.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/more-on-mumford/

    http://educationrealist.wordpress.com/2013/03/31/its-the-tests-zitbrains/

    Read them all. Also, read Steven Sawchuk’s great piece: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/05/08/30entry_ep.h32.html?utm_source=fb&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mrss

  2. MrPABruno says:

    I think it’s notable that alt-cert programs seem to have more racial diversity.

    http://www.paul-bruno.com/why-are-some-credentialing-programs-more-racially-diverse-than-others/

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