Monday, May 23, 2016

Texas - highest U.S. graduation rate but lowest SAT scores?

There are groups in Texas that claim that "Texas has enjoyed the highest graduation rates in America for several consecutive years."  This claim comes from TEA data and is questioned by multiple organizations in Texas including graduate schools of education and business concerns.

The accuracy of this claim can easily be questioned due to the history of enrollment by grade in Texas. Texas is only now up to graduating as many as 79% of the 9th grade full enrollment 4 years earlier.  TEA creates their higher graduation rates by shrinking the size of the 9th grade class in multiple ways, including eliminating the huge numbers taking 9th grade for a second time in Texas. Texas also "disappears" thousands of 9th graders by graduation due to designations such as "home schooling" or "returning to Mexico," or any of other of a large numbers of such categories used in Texas for this purpose.

Here are the Texas enrollment numbers by grade:

Even more troubling while some are bragging about a questionable graduation rate are the numbers indicating Texas has one of the lowest SAT score averages in the nation!   How does Texas avoid talking about this?
Data in chart above is from 
Using the 2014 data, only three other states and D.C. have lower SAT averages than Texas.  But those four test either 96% or 100% of their students.  They have worse SAT averages than the 62% of students tested in Texas.  What would happen if Texas tested 96% or more?  Is there any doubt Texas would have the worst SAT average in the nation?

Then using the 2015 SAT scores you see an almost identical pattern again!