Education: Learning Less

Are U.S. public school students learning less now than they did a decade or even a few years ago? According to the newly published results of three separate, national tests, the answer seems to be yes.

The strongest evidence for the decline in classroom learning comes from the annual Scholastic Aptitude Tests, which most college admissions offices use to judge applicants. SAT scores have been falling every year since 1962, and the new figures—based on last year's tests taken by 1 million high school students—show that the trend is continuing (TIME, Dec. 31, 1973). Over the past twelve years the average score...

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