I am certain the others have more knowledge about Horn's article, but given
its date (1989-90), I would suspect that his information may be obsolete.
The SATs were recentered in 1996-97, so even the scoring base line is not
what it was in 1989. Girls did score better than males for many years,
which had more to do with the content of the verbal section as with
anything else. Prior to the mid-1980's, much of the material in the verbal
section was taken from literature--novels, short stories and the
like--material which was more generally of an interest to females rather
than males. With the addition of more technical reading--the Popular
Mechnanics, tech manuals etc, the gap between males and females narrowed.
The introduction of this material was an equity issue for males since
material which would draw out their reasoning processes had before been
The gap between males and females on the verbal section of the SAT remains,
although not as wide as it was. Given that the same pattern is seen in
educational assessments in the lower grade, that gap may say more about
what is happening to boys than what is happening for girls. We are seeing
in our state that on the math state assessment tests there is virtiually no
difference between the scores of girls and the scores of boys K-6. Whether
that pattern will hold through high school remains to be seen.
I would suggest that you contact TestFair in Boston about Horn's findings.
They are the "watchdogs" in equity in testing.
Kathleen Rigsby <rigsby@CAHS.Colostate.edu>
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