Re: textbooks (fwd).....And their relationship to civil religion

Moorad Alexanian (alexanian@UNCWIL.EDU)
Mon, 08 Dec 1997 09:01:36 -0500 (EST)

At 11:09 PM 12/6/97 -0600, Bill Payne wrote:
>Thu, 04 Dec 97 13:28:00 PST Chad Davies wrote:
>> I am somewhat familiar with the "Wall Builders" literature
>> and their lovely graph correlations.
>For those who may be interested, the Wallbuilders site is:
>> In their discussion of causes
>> they neglect to mention that two other very powerful dynamic social
>> forces were taking places. First was the Civil Rights decisions and Act
>> that allowed and even required minority participation in a number of things.
>> I think that the drop in average SAT score has a lot more to do with having
>> a greater number of poorly educated minorities take the test than a lack
>> of prayer in the classroom.
>The national average of SAT scores had been virtually level for at least
>10 years (varied from 965 to 980) until 1963 when the Supreme Court
>decisions were made, and in the next 11 years the scores plummeted to
>908. In 1974, the declining curve shallowed out, and in 1980, the curve
>reversed and began to climb. This was the time period during which the
>private Christian school movement exploded. Barton attributed the
>reversal to the 10% of the nation's students who were now being educated
>under "divine law." He pointed out that these were not the most
>affluent families who were taking this option.
>> A second, perhaps more important factor, is that during
>> this time, the US Interstate system was being built and many city planners
>> and sociologists say that this caused great demographic change.
>> Urban flight of businesses, jobs and people didn't leave much behind for
>> those who had to stay.
>That strikes me as a weak point.

Dear Bill,

I enclose a letter which was published in our local newspaper.

Take care,


EDITOR: Your article of August 27 fails to mention the changes that took
place on the reporting of SAT scores after April 1, 1995.

Test scores taken after that date are reported on a recentered scale which
means that the combined score were 98 points above that of their
predecessors. This is grade inflation at its worst.

SAT scores have been falling from 1962 to 1981 by 11% in the Verbal (to 424)
and by 7% in the Math (to 466). [The scale of scores for each part is 200 to
800.] From 1981 to 1991 the scores leveled off to 425 Verbal and 470 Math.
On April 1, 1995, the College Board recalibarated the "average" combined
Verbal and Math scores (supposedly 500) to the median of the test group of
that year. This was achieved by adding 98 points to the combined scores.

School districts that showed an increase in SAT scores should be pleased.
Therefore, we ought to keep emphasizing that real self esteem is achieved by
a student by actual accomplishments in the academic field---the hard
sciences, mathematics, English, history, geography, the humanities, and the
arts. Making students feel good by any other means is a fraud that deprives
them of the knowledge they need to succeed in a highly technical and
scientific society.

Moorad Alexanian