Newsweek “Boy Crisis” Update: SAT Scores Were Thoroughly Ignored

January 28th, 2006 11:59 AM

As reported by NewsBusters last Sunday, Newsweek’s recent cover story, “The Trouble With Boys,” appeared to intentionally omit key statistics that might have made the article’s premise completely erroneous. With that in mind, a reader sent me an e-mail message with another pivotal omission on the part of the article’s author.

The third paragraph of this article boldly stated: "By almost every benchmark, boys across the nation and in every demographic group are falling behind." The key word here is "almost," for as amazing as it might seem, in a piece designed to demonstrate how much better girls are doing in school than boys, nowhere was there any reference to the SATs. This test that has been the benchmark for most major colleges and universities for decades wasn’t even mentioned.

Why might that be? Well, because with all these changes to education in the past three decades, and after all the psychobabble, boys still do better than girls on both the verbal and the math sections of the SAT. Moreover, as demonstrated by the following chart created by the College Board, since 1972, verbal scores have declined for both genders, and by virtually the same amount. I wonder why the article’s author chose to ignore this. In addition, math scores for both genders have increased since 1972, also by virtually the same amount.

Finally, the following PDF from the College Board offered another interesting and relevant statistic that Newsweek chose to ignore. The percentage of males taking the SAT versus females was 47% to 53% in 2005, as opposed to 46% to 54% in 1995. According to this PDF, “Women continue to be a majority, but decline in male SAT takers appears to be abating.” Also, “Women became the majority in the early 1970s,” coincidentally right when changes to Title IX were implemented.

Add it all up, and one has to wonder why Newsweek chose to ignore the history of SAT scores in its supposed expose about gender differences in education.