Page 14 -The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 7, 1990
From the College Press
1 ! _1...
Although their math scores held
steady, this year's college first-year
student's average verbal scores on
the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)
were lower than previous classes',
the College Board reported Aug. 28.
It was the fourth consecutive year
in which average verbal scores de-
clined, prompting education experts
to look for scapegoats and standard-
ized test opponents to repeat their
watnings that the tests are essen-
"'The verbal decline this year is
disturbing, but not particularly sur-
prising," said Donald Stewart,
president of the College Board, the
New York-based organization that
manages the SAT and other standard-
ized student tests.
The verbal score for the high
school class of 1990 fell three points
to 424 out of a possible 800.
Stewart blamed the decline of
verbal scores on students who watch
too much television.
"Students must pay less attention
to video games and music videos,
and begin to read more," he advised.
"Reading is in danger of becom-
ing a 'lost art' among too many
ire agai; ree
American students, and that would percent of the students who took the
be a national tragedy," he continued. SAT, two percent more than last
Lynne Cheney, chair of the year However, their scores showed
National Endowment for the little or no improvement.
Humanities, cited "dumbed-down" Mexican-Americans and Puerto
textbooks, unprepared teachers and Ricans dropped one point each in
course work that is "not as demand- verbal and math while other His-
ing as it should be" for the decline. panic students fell six points in ver-
Last October, after her group bal and two points in math.
sponsored a study showing that a Verbal scores for African-Ameri-
large percentage of college seniors can students rose one point but fell
didn't know key historical dates and one point in math.
phrases, Cheney called for colleges American Indians posted a four-
to implement a 50-hour core curricu- point verbal increase and a nine-
lum for their humanities programs. point math increase, while Asian-
The College Board report found Americans improved by a point in
that minority students constituted 27 the verbal and three points in the
Yet critics shouldn't bother mea-
suring the ups and downs of various
groups' scores on the tests because
the tests themselves are flawed, SAT
"You can't accurately measure the
nation's academic temperature with
a defective thermometer," said Bob
Schaeffer of Fairtest, a Mas-
sachusetts organization which op-
poses standardized testing.
Schaeffer agrees American educa-
tion is decaying, but blames public
schools' fixation with multiple
choice testing for the phenomenon.
John Katzman, president of the
Princeton Review, which coaches
students taking the SAT, called the.
College Board "a bunch of bizarre
"The important thing to remem-
ber is that the SAT this year is a lift
tle less relevant to anything going
on in high school, college or busi-
ness," Katzman said.
Both Schaeffer and Katzman
found irony in the fact that the Cof-
lege Board is reportedly looking into
adding essay tests and open-ended
math questions to the SAT to make
it less coachable.
State republicans prepare for united battle in fall elections.
LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The
bickering and bitterness of the 1988
GOP presidential wars have passed,
so Republicans say they'll be able to
concentrate at this weekend's state
convention on beating Democrats.
"We're not being driven by presi-
dential politics and so we're back to
the goal of winning elections," said
gubernatorial candidate John Engler,
who is also the Senate majority
The Michigan Republican Party
went to war with itself in 1987 and
1988 with various factions backing
George Bush and Jack Kemp. The
wounds slowly healed and Engler
said the party is whole again this
year, and he's worked hard to make
"We've consulted with an awful
lot of people. One of the strengths
I'm going to have going into this
convention is the number of people,
regardless of their philosophy, who
have been part of the decision-mak-
ing," he said.
Schuette, of Sanford, said having
a relatively bloodless primary elec-
tion campaign against Clark Durant
had been one of his goals.
"After the primary, none of the
pundits could write that there was
blood in the streets of the Republi-
can Party because that didn't hap-
pen," he said. "That was part of our
strategy since day one. Our objective
is to beat the Democratic incumbent,
Carl Levin. That's what we focus
Engler, who is running against
Gov. James Blanchard, moved to
head off any party quarrels by an-
nouncing early his choice for the
various education posts filled at the
convention. He also made early
picks for the secretary of state and at-
torney general candidates.
"I think the ticket broadly repre-
sents all philosophies within the
party. It's a ticket that has appeal
geographically, it has gender appeal.
It has, more importantly, qualifica-
tions appeal," he said.
"One thing I've heard from peo-
ple across the state, regardless of
whether they're conservative or mod-
erate in philosophy, is a desire for
competence and for quality candi-
Ironically, as Democrats gather in
Flint this weekend for their state
convention, that party's still abuzz
from Blanchard's decisions to dump
78-year-old Lt. Gov. Martha Grif-
The scientific wa
fiths and replace her with 54-year-old
Republican Party Chairperson
Spencer Abraham declined to com-
ment on the Democrats' trouble, but
he said he was glad his party was,
united and focusing on winning eleq-
"I spent a lot of time on those ir-
traparty battles and I'm happy to be
on the other side of the aisle now,'
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