# CUNY Raising SAT Math Score Cutoff

July 28, 2007

### Topic

The Times

Tired of looking at my New York Times graphics yet? Too bad. Here’s another one for my your viewing pleasure.

CUNY schools are planning to raise their SAT math scores to 510 for their top-tier schools and to 500 for the rest. Believe it or not, the current cutoff for all schools is 480. Some say the increase in standards is good for the school to improve reputability. Others argue that the new cutoffs single out a lot of minorities since the high school education system is uneven.

Currently, lots of students are coming into CUNY schools unprepared to take college-level math courses, and the college ends up teaching remedial courses like pre-algebra. That’s just SAD. It’s probably more important to focus on improving the high school education system than it is to try to get unqualified students into college.

• anon.

Shouldn’t you show distributions, not averages? And why a bar chart? I don’t think there’s even a 100 on the SATs, let alone a 0.

• Good question. In many cases, we have to make graphics with the data that is given to us or with what we can find. With this graphic, all we had were averages.

About 0 and 100, yeah, you’re right. The lowest score you can get on the SAT is 200, and I should have made that evident on the y-axis.

Finally, why the choice of the bar chart? You’re pretty much going to find only line, bar, and bubble in The Times (from what I’ve seen so far), so I went with bar :P

• This would all make sense IF the SAT actually measured something . . . but studies show that it doesn’t measure or assess much of anything. For instance, the College Board claims that the SAT predicts the performance of college freshman. Yet studies show that female college freshman receive higher grades in math courses than male freshman. The SAT, however, predicts male freshman will receive higher grades in freshman math classes over female freshman (males score higher on the math section of the SAT). In other words – the SAT doesn’t seem to be a good predictor of freshman performance (its stated purpose). So the SAT should be abandoned.

• This would all make sense IF the SAT actually measured something . . . but studies show that it doesn’t measure or assess much of anything. For instance, the College Board claims that the SAT predicts the performance of college freshman. Yet studies show that female college freshman receive higher grades in math courses than male freshman. The SAT, however, predicts male freshman will receive higher grades in freshman math classes over female freshman (males score higher on the math section of the SAT). In other words – the SAT doesn’t seem to be a good predictor of freshman performance (its stated purpose). So the SAT should be abandoned.

• Rob T.

Neil is right. This sort of over-emphasis on the SAT’s is ridiculous.

Thirty years ago, I applied to an couple of Ivy league schools, even though I had only a 450 Math SAT. Despite this fact, I was admitted to one of them, and I was graduated in the top quarter of my class, something that my SAT’s would *never* have predicted. I am glad that that particular admissions committee looked at my overall application, including creative work that I submitted, and did not instead mechanically rely upon test scores and other simplistic formulas.

• Rob T.

Neil is right. This sort of over-emphasis on the SAT’s is ridiculous.

Thirty years ago, I applied to an couple of Ivy league schools, even though I had only a 450 Math SAT. Despite this fact, I was admitted to one of them, and I was graduated in the top quarter of my class, something that my SAT’s would *never* have predicted. I am glad that that particular admissions committee looked at my overall application, including creative work that I submitted, and did not instead mechanically rely upon test scores and other simplistic formulas.