Books are Enough

The Power of Free, Self-Selected Reading


SAT scores are flat or lower. Reading section scores are at 40 year lows. Crisis! Crisis! Here is the good news…

  • About 1000 4 year colleges no longer require the SAT or ACT for most students to be admitted (see
  • SAT and ACT scores have little to do with college ready. Let me summarize for those who have not read my previous papers.
  • Geiser and Studley (2001)   Geiser and Santelices ( 2007)
    •  HSGPA is consistently the strongest predictor of four-year college outcomes
    • The predictive weight associated with HSGPA increases after the freshman year
    • HSGPA has less adverse impact than standardized tests on disadvantaged and underrepresented minority students
    • Compared to high-school grade point  average (HSGPA), scores on standardized admissions tests such as the SAT I are much more closely correlated with students’ socioeconomic background
  • The SAT and ACT have become criminalized. These tests were NEVER designed to be mandated. Kids are often forced to take these tests during school against their will. Valid results? Reliable?
  • Maybe kids and parents will stop spending all that money on prep classes and prep books. Mr. Kaplan has been selling prep books for decades. Snoozer.
  • The SAT does not measure reading ability.  It is a time scramble that rewards those who know a lot of big words. We might as well just give the New York Times Crossword Puzzle. Results will line up based on poverty.

Mr. James Montoya – a College Board VP- had the audacity to blame schools. Sorry James but taking more “core classes” is not the answer. In FL where these core classes are required- results were overly dismal. FL even pays the College Board over a million dollars a year to force all 10th grade students to take the PSAT- during the school day!

The best thing we can do for all kids- especially those in poverty who lack access to books- it to help them become book-loving citizens. When schools reinforce book poverty, we lose more generations to the test prep factories.
I hope these latest results help us realize that these tests have little relation to college/career ready and that we should be investing in book lovers and not test takers.

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