College Entrance Exams - SAT

How well do Core-Plus students perform on the SAT?

On the SAT-I Mathematics test, students completing Core-Plus mathematics field-test courses performed at least as well as students in traditional mathematics curricula.

SAT data for 1997 from 13 CPMP schools were separated into groups according to the secondary mathematics courses the students had completed. SAT Mathematics scores of students who had completed Courses 1, 2 and 3 were compared to students who completed traditional algebra, geometry and advanced algebra. In Table 1, these groups are labeled "CPMP 3" and "Advanced Algebra," respectively. The CPMP 3 average (mean) is greater than that of the Advanced Algebra students, but the difference is not significant at the 0.05 level.

Table 1: Means and Standard Deviations of 1997 SAT Mathematics Scores

CPMP3 Advanced Algebra
Number of Students Average Number of Students Average
371 552.0 190 543.4

In one field-test school at the beginning of the CPMP field test (Fall 1994), all ninth-grade students who qualified for pre-algebra or algebra were randomly assigned by computer to CPMP Course 1 or to a traditional course. Many of these students completed Advanced Algebra or CPMP Course 3 in their junior year and took the SAT either in spring or summer of their junior year or in fall of their senior year. As shown in Table 2, the average Grade 8 ITBS Mathematics scores are nearly identical for the CPMP students and those in the traditional curriculum. Thus, these two groups were well-matched on mathematical achievement prior to high school. They learned mathematics in the same school and sometimes from some of the same teachers. The only apparent systematic difference between the groups is the curriculum. The average SAT Math score for the CPMP group is greater than that of the traditional group, but the difference is not statistically significant at the 0.05 level.

Table 2: ITBS Math and SAT Math Means and Standard Deviations for CPMP and Well-Matched Traditional Students in One High School

Grade 8 ITBS Math Percentile SAT Math
Group Number of Students Average Average
CPMP 54 57.1 484.6
Traditional 44 57.5 467.0

The results in Tables 1 and 2 are illustrated in the following graph.

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