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N.J. students in low-income districts struggle on SATs


N.J. students in low-income districts struggle on SATs

No seniors at Paterson’s Eastside High School campus last year did well enough on the SATs to meet the College Board’s threshold for being “college ready.”

In Bergen County, 13 percent of Garfield High School seniors who took the SAT hit that benchmark, along with 18 percent of their counterparts atLyndhurst High School, according to the new School Performance Reports released Tuesday.

At a time when helping students become “college ready” is a mantra for New Jersey education officials, a startling share in many poor and moderate-income districts failed to meet the score deemed by the College Board to predict probable success in college — 1,550 points out of a possible 2,400.

That benchmark has been in the spotlight since Camden Schools Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard used it last month to say it hit him like a “kick in the stomach” to learn that only three students in his city tested as college-ready. Governor Christie jumped on the figure in his recent State of the State speech to argue for his education agenda, including merit pay for teachers and a longer academic day.

The College Board, which administers the SAT, says that students who hit the benchmark have a 65 percent or greater chance of earning at least a B-minus average in their freshman year of college, and are likely to get a degree. Studies show SAT scores are highly correlated with parents’ income and education level.

The SAT is much harder than the state’s graduation exam. Indeed, in 46 of the 71 public high schools in Bergen and Passaic counties, most of the seniors who took the SAT did not hit 1,550. The Bergen County Academies, a selective magnet, fared the best, with 98 percent of its students hitting that target or better.

Education Commissioner Chris Cerf said low SAT scores in many districts — among other indicators – showed the urgent need to raise the bar for learning. (Brody/The Record)

5 thoughts on “N.J. students in low-income districts struggle on SATs

  1. The following was included at the very end of the Bergen Record article:

    “In the high-performing, affluent district of Ridgewood, 93 percent of last year’s seniors took the SAT, and 81 percent hit the college-ready benchmark. “That 81 percent is one data point,” said Superintendent Daniel Fishbein. “What about a child who isn’t a good test-taker but performs well in class and works hard? It’s always nice to be acknowledged for our high test scores but what is really important is what happens in our classrooms every day.”

  2. Genetics determine intelligence.

  3. Well, clearly the tests are racist.

  4. It does prove, that the “Burke vs Abbot’ ruling, by our left leaning Supreme Court, does NOT work.
    For those of you unfamiliar, it created “Abbot’ districts which basically guarantee ‘per pupil funding’ in the dumps of Paterson, Newark,Camden, Jersey City etc of an equivalent financial amount as the ‘good’ districts, such as Ridgewood.
    Despite pissing away hundreds of millions of dollars since this 1997 ruling, the results speak for themselves.
    Ever wonder why roads don’t get fixed? Bridges and other infrastructure fall apart? Its because the “Abbot ruling’ basically drains the state treasury in order to comply.
    Very sad because its a failed social experiment and we all pay for it.
    Ask a Paterson teacher what is required to satisfactorily complete a year and progress to the next?
    Grades? Nope. Just simply ‘attendance’. Your tax dollars at work in the great state of NJ. Or should I say ‘Peoples Republic of NJ, run by liberal Democrats’.

  5. The lowest grade that you can attain is a 50. If you do not hand in an assignment you get a 50. Not a zero. It helps keep the grades up.

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