And in New York, Hispanics saw a five point jump, reports Newsday. Nationally, verbal scores rose one point to 508 and down one point to 518 in math.

Bad News Hidden in SAT Scores

The College Board, which administers the test, uses a statistical method to make the scores as comparable as possible, but come on, what does a 1 percent gain really mean for my child or society in general?

When you add in the 1.2 million students who took the ACT an alternative to the SAT often taken in Midwestern states the percentage taking a college entrance exam would improve some. It is difficult, though, to calculate the total effect. Even if we doubled the number of kids taking the test, the best case scenario is about a quarter of the children who live in poverty actually take one of the two college tests. The REAL percentage, of course, is much, much lower.

It would appear that less than 2.3 percent of children at the poverty level took the SATs. But let's say ALL of the missing half million test takers came from the lowest income group, which of course is unlikely. Under that scenario, about 13 percent of children who live in poverty took the SATs.

In comparison, at least 161,809 of the test takers came from families making more than $100,000. The bulk of the test takers, of course, were in the middle Women Canada Goose Constable Parka Black Ireland income brackets at 554,518. Unfortunately, half a million test takers didn't reveal their family's income level, leaving a huge margin for error. Census. And the number of children living in poverty has increased to 4.7 million children, leaving 19.8 percent of American children living in poverty.

If you've picked up your newspaper recently, you probably noticed a story about local SAT scores. In Illinois, for example, scores for Latinos dropped a few points, reports the Chicago Tribune. In California, verbal skills improved while math scores dropped, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Of the students from poor families who do take the SATs, they scored lower than other economic groups. For children from families in the less than $10,000 bracket, verbal scores averaged 422 while math scores were 450. For children from families making more than $100,000, verbal scores averaged 553 while math scores were 562.

The College Board reports at least 108,977 children from families making less than $20,000 took the SAT test. That's only 7 percent of the 1.5 million test takers.

But so what? Year to year changes in scores really mean nothing. Consider that test question difficulty may vary from year to year or kids have a collective bad day. Even long term trends don't mean a whole lot when you consider that the test gets periodically revamped as it has for the class of 2005.

Another huge difference can be seen in children from educated families. Of the 1.5 million test takers, only 50,436 kids came from families lacking a high school diploma among their caregivers. It beats 0, I guess.

So I decided to comb through the College Board's test statistics for a more meaningful look at what is happening to our children.

While college test scores don't reveal a complete picture of what is going on out on the streets, they do offer a glimpse of how we let huge numbers of American children down. This is a disaster that has been going on for decades, despite promises from our local, state and national leaders. The disaster will continue to go on this way until Americans decide that quality education for all is the ultimate family value.

For example, although Hispanics are the largest minority group in this country, only 10 percent of the SAT takers were Latino. But another 10 percent of the test takers were Asian American, one of the smaller minority groups, reports the College Board. Census. Clearly, far more Asians as a percentage of population are taking the SATs and therefore going on to college.

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What it comes down to is this: public schools almost completely fail children from poor and undereducated families. So while experts tout that SAT scores are holding steady or improving somewhat, they leave out the simple fact that the largest, most vulnerable population groups simply don't take the tests or do much worse on them.