One of the three Rs just found a new basement: SAT reading scores fell three points to reach their lowest level on record, the AP reports. The decline took the scores to 497 out of 800, and it was just the second time in the past 20 years that reading scores have fallen that much in one year. In 2005, the average was 508. Math scores for the class of 2011 dropped from 515 to 514 and writing scores from 491 to 489, bringing the overall score down from 1506 to 1500, notes Education Week. Combined reading and math scores hit their lowest level since 1995,
The College Board notes that the decline reflects the growing number of students taking the test (1.65 million, up from 1.6 million in 2010); the more students that take it, the more average scores tend to fall. Notably, more Hispanics are taking the exam, and the US may need to make changes to reading and writing instruction to keep pace with changing demographics. Twenty-seven percent of test-takers did not speak English as a first language—up from 19% 10 years ago.