The national average for SAT math scores fell one point and reading fell two points this year. In her Sound Off segment on MSNBC, The Nation‘s Melissa Harris-Perry says these new low in US SAT scores tells us a lot about the state of our education and society at large. SAT scores correlate with parental income or wealth more closely than with students’ achievement in college. The lower SAT scores reflect the economic downturn and a more diverse student pool that consists of more minority students, first generation college-goers and non-English speaking students. Seeing this diversity as a positive sign, Harris-Perry points out a problem: because universities and colleges select students based on SAT scores which track students’ family background rather than their capacity to perform academically, students admitted may not be as diverse a group as the general student pool.

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Jin Zhao