SAT Scores Rise
Reversing recent downward trends, average verbal scores on the Scholastic Aptitude Test rose last year for the first time since 1985. The College Board reported in August that the average verbal score for the high school class of 1992 was 423 out of a possible 800, one point above last year’s record low. Average math scores also rose, climbing to 476 out of 800, two points above last year’s average and 10 points ahead of the record low of 1981.
New Jersey Commissioner of Education John Ellis has ruled that Whittle Communications’ Channel One classroom news show does not violate state law as the state’s affiliate of the National Education Association had argued. The decision reverses an administrative-law judge who had found that the Trenton school district’s use of the controversial program violated state law because it includes two minutes of commercials. Ellis said that his decision was influenced by the fact that the district shows the program during home-room and, thus, does not detract from any instructional periods.
Arrest Rocks Exeter
A popular drama teacher at Phillips Exeter Academy, the elite boarding school in Exeter, N.H., has been arrested and indicted on charges that he possessed child pornography and shipped it across state lines. The teacher, 51-year-old Larry Lane Bateman, had taught at the school since 1980, living in student dorms as is required of faculty members. Bateman, who was fired the day after his arrest, has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is free on bail. School officials have sought to reassure parents that the school has no confirmation of media reports that Exeter students were involved in Bateman’s alleged illegal activities.
According to a preliminary study by the RAND Corp., Vermont educators consider the state’s new portfolio assessment system a “worthwhile burden.” Teachers say the pioneering assessment requires a considerable investment of time, an average of six hours a week. But they also say the portfolios make them more enthusiastic about teaching and give them more information than they previously had about students. “However irritated they are at having to do this stuff,” says Daniel Koretz, the study’s director, “the majority of people believe the changes are for the better.”
Virginia’s first statewide study of high school students entering college has found that nearly one in seven during the last school year required remedial classes in mathematics, English, or reading. Of the 23,999 students who entered college in 1991-92, 3,405—or more than 14 percent—required remedial classes. At one university, 79 percent of the freshmen required such courses.
The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service has freed school districts from the need to repeatedly re-verify employment eligibility of substitute teachers. School administrators asked for a clarification from the agency when it appeared that revisions in the Immigration Reform and Control Act required districts to fill out a new immigration form every time they sent a sub out to teach. The INS concluded that subs have “a reasonable expectation of continued employment,” so they and their employers only need to verify their eligibility to work in the United States when they are first hired by a district.
A version of this article appeared in the October 01, 1992 edition of Teacher as Roundup