Ignorant Nevada
Silver State Kids Rank Near Bottom
In More Accurate SAT Comparisons

   by Steve Miller

You've seen and heard the stories.
Year in and year out, the Washoe County School District and the Reno Gazette-Journal tell you that Nevada students continue to rank about "average" or "near the middle" when they take the College Board Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SATs).
But -- in case you missed it -- educational activist Georgia Klepps at a recent WC school board meeting pointed out with a penetrating clarity something that Nevada's imperial education establishment has been very eager to cover up.
That reality is that the standings reported for Nevada in the press accounts are highly and misleadingly skewed in a positive direction. Why? Because only a relatively low proportion of students in this state -- 30 per cent -- take the SATs. And when that skewing is removed, Nevada ranks near the bottom: 43rd out of all the 50 states!
Georgia shared with us the original analysis that led her to this understanding. It was an examination printed last year in the monthly publication of the Hudson Institute's Educational Excellence Network, Network News & Views, and prepared by Michael A. Smith,

president of Aluminum Conversion, Inc., a Cromwell, Indiana firm.
"The higher the percentage of any student population take the [SAT] test," wrote Smith, "the farther down into the class ranks you go. Students at the bottom of their class are less likely to have high SAT scores than students at the top of their classes. It is inherently unfair to compare the top of the class in one state to the entire class in another."
In order to only compare students with similar class rankings, says Smith, the analysis has to include the demographics of the entire test-taking population, as reported by the College Board in each state's 14-page profile report.
In Nevada, author Smith points out, the participation rate was just 30 per cent. That made Nevada look much stronger than states like Massachusetts (participation rate 79%), Connecticut (73%) and New Jersey (71%).
For the entire Network News & Views article, or to subscribe to the monthly publication, e-mail nceicef@aol.com or telephone 505-989-4732.

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