Click for fullscreen. The data are from 2007.
One of many interesting interactive maps at MeasureofAmerica.org.
Addendum: I knew when I posted this that the display of the data was somewhat misleading, because SAT test-taking is not uniform from state to state, but I didn't have a link to clarify that point. I appreciate the efforts of Bill Hunt, who (see the comments thread) tracked down the aforementioned data on participation rates and the College Board's recommendations re how such data should (or should not) be used:
The SAT is a strong indicator of trends in the college-bound population, but it should never be used alone for such comparisons because demographics and other nonschool factors can have a strong effect on scores. If ranked, schools and states that encourage students to apply to college may be penalized because scores tend to decline with a rise in percentage of test-takers.
It should probably be pointed out that the high scores of the Midwest are not a result of some supernatural Great Plains intelligence but rather the prevalence in central states of the ACT for college admissions. The Midwestern students who take the SATs are therefore mostly self-selected high achievers who plan on going to school out-of-state.ReplyDelete
You are probably right about some of the bias. However, you discount the fact that many of the high preforming midwestern states also have excellent in-state schools that require the SAT.
It is sad to note that my state (IN) is just a midwest underachiever in general. I *definitely* blame our public school system. It is abysmal.
I would be curious to see percentages of students taking the SATs in the various states. Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana seem to have high scores, while other statistics show poor academic achievement in those states.ReplyDelete
Clearly the people making the map are not from the Midwest. Look closely at the legend. It has ranges of scores of zero width (ie 1400 to 1400 !)ReplyDelete
Stephen King won't be happy. In his books Maine is usually beset by supernatural evils - turns out they're just stupid...ReplyDelete
@Mark - the data was originally displayed as quintiles. I used the interactive feature to increase the number of quantiles to 7. Probably it was unable to do that transformation and displayed a quintile-based map with a 7-quantile legend.ReplyDelete
Argh. These numbers are so misleading they are pretty much a lie. Here's the source of the data:ReplyDelete
And they say:
A word about comparing states and schools
Media and others often rank states, districts, and schools on the basis of SAT scores despite repeated warnings that such rankings are invalid. The SAT is a strong indicator of trends in the college-bound population, but it should never be used alone for such comparisons because demographics and other nonschool factors can have a strong effect on scores. If ranked, schools and states that encourage students to apply to college may be penalized because scores tend to decline with a rise in percentage of test-takers.Here's the same summary data, along with the participation rate: http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2007-08-28-sat-table_N.htm
Note that Maine, which rates the worst in your graphic has 100% student participation, whereas South Dakota, which has one of the highest in your graphic has a 3% participation.
Isn't it obvious to you that in a state where 3% of the students take a college-exam test, that those 3% are the sharpest in the state.
Really hope you modify your blog post to indicate that the people who put this data together said in very strong language that the putting together of this sort of graph would be ignorant of the meaning of the data.
sorry, left out the link: http://professionals.collegeboard.com/data-reports-research/sat/cb-seniors-2007/aggregate-scoresReplyDelete
FYI, just sent an email to the people your graph came from (http://measureofamerica.org). Would've cc'ed you if I had your email:ReplyDelete
I haven't seen it directly on your site, but a blog published this sceenshot of your SAT data (from The College Board): http://tywkiwdbi.blogspot.com/2009/05/sat-scores-ranking-by-state-average.html
I responded to the blog:
(my above blog post)
I haven't seen your graph yet, so perhaps you already have language with it to indicate that the graph is worthless, but if not, I recommend you do so. Or better pull the graph. I'm assuming here, that as a site that offers value by offering data to your users, that the quality of your data is important to you.
This is a more accurate representation of state intelligence.ReplyDelete
Note that Maine ranks 7th.
Reading Scores Are Among the Nation's Best: Maine 4th graders rank 6th in the nation in reading in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
Reading Scores Are Among the Nation's Best: Maine 8th graders rank 7th in the nation in reading in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
Writing Scores Are Among the Nation's Best: Maine ranks 6th in the nation for having the largest proportion of public school 4th graders scoring at the highest two levels in writing in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
Science Scores Are Among the Nation's Best: Maine ranks 2nd in the nation for having the highest percentage of public school 4th graders scoring at the two highest levels in science and ranks 10th in the nation for having the highest proportion of 8th graders scoring at the highest two levels in science.
Among the Nation's "Smartest States": Maine has been named as one of the six "smartest states" in the country based on the quality of its public elementary and secondary schools.
Among the Nation's Best in Preparing Students for College: The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education gives Maine a score of 89 for how well its schools prepare students for college, which is the 7th high score in the country.
I use to live in New Jersey but now I'm in Indiana. The way I see it is that there is more to do along the coasts, where the scores are lower. The more inland you get, the scores get higher 'cause there isn't alot to do, so you might as well study.ReplyDelete
Sylvie, you have it totally wrong. You need to read the links, not just look at the picture.ReplyDelete
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It would be correct to post the range for the test from 1600 to 1600 because there are no scores higher than 1600 whereas there are thousands of students who would score higher if the test allowed it.ReplyDelete
If so, the gap between the mostly Catholic states and the mostly Protestant states would be even greater.
So it's a bit confusing that the scale shows a range from 1400-1400, one from 1600-1600, and two ranges, 1600-1700 and 1700-1900 which are actually higher than the maximum of 1600 reported on most SAT tests, as well as their GRE tests.
Is it possible that the scale should have read?:
However, the average score for Blacks is 856, which means they score lower than the lowest range on the above scale.
Note that this graphing tool is a great way to see that the more a state spends for education, the lower their SAT scores:ReplyDelete
I think it should be noted that Maine is the only state that requires all students to take the SATs. That is why it is so low.ReplyDelete