There are two possible reasons for the decline of SAT scores ("As college-prep test scores falter, how the US can respond," Sept. 26).
One possibility, suggested by FairTest, is that the massive invasion of high-stakes tests that began with No Child Left Behind has not worked.
Another, according to an analysis by Seton Hall Professor Christopher Tienken, is poverty: Tienken has demonstrated that students coming from wealthier families achieve higher SAT scores. As we all know, poverty has been increasing in the US.
Most likely, both factors are at work.
University of Southern California
Fair test: http://fairtest.org/fairtest-news-release-release-2012-sat-scores
Poverty and SAT scores: Christopher Tienken, 2010, Strong Correlations, AASA Journal 7(2). http://www.aasa.org/jsp.aspx
Increase in poverty: http://journalistsresource.org/studies/economics/inequality/research-roundup-post-recession-america-poverty-rate-stays-high#