Published Online: September 21, 2004
Published in Print: September 8, 2004, as Do State Exit Exams Hurt Scores on SAT?

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Do State Exit Exams Hurt Scores on SAT?

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States that require exit exams for high school graduation could be inadvertently causing their students to score lower on the SAT, a new study suggests.

Conducted by professors of educational psychology at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., the study found that the average combined verbal and math score on the SAT in states with exit exams was 34 points lower than the average score in states without exit exams.

According to the authors, a possible explanation for the finding is that most exit exams are achievement tests covering specific standards or content knowledge, while the college-entrance exam is a test of reasoning. In focusing on exit-exam content knowledge, the study speculates, educators may be neglecting more innovative teaching practices that improve reasoning and critical-thinking skills.

Vol. 23, Issue 02, Page 19

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