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117 LATIN STUDENTS SCORE HIGH ON SAT AND ACHIEVEMENT TESTS by Richard A. Lafleur Reprinted wi th the author' 5 permission from "The Forum", CLassical Journal 76 (981). Data recently made available by the Educational Testing Service reveal a 20% increase in the number of students taking the Latin Achievement Test in 1980 and a slight rise in the mean score on this exam: the national mean for the 1,570 examinees in 1979 was 524, while this year's 1,823 participants scored a mean of 529. The 20% growth in the number of examinees is an important indicator, in the absence of current enrollment figures for all states, helping to confirm what other evidence suggests, that national enrollments in Latin are indeed on the upsI"ing. Just as importantly, the SAT Verbal average for those students taking the Latin Achievement Test (568, up from 567 in 1979) was 144 points higher than the national average for all students, which again declined this year (from 427 in 1979 to 424 in 1980). Moreover, while national SAT Math averages also dropped slightly in 1980 (from 467 to 466), Latin Achievement Test participants scored a mean of 588, up from 585 the preceding year, 122 points higher than the mean for all students. By comparison with students taking the Achievement Test in other foreign languages, Latin students fared most favorably. The SAT Verbal and Math averages for Latin Achievement Test examinees (568 and 588, respectively) were significantly higher than the averages for those students taking the Achievement Test in Spanish (500 Verbal, 539 Math), French (540, 566), and Hebrew (552, 580). Lest the argument be made that Latin naturally attracts superior students and that their higher SAT averages reflect primarily that circumstance, it should be pointed out that students taking the Achievement Test in German, also generally regarded as a difficult language with appeal only to the exceptional high schooler, scored markedly lower on the SAT Verbal -(536) and Math (582) than their counterparts in Latin. Only students taking the Achievement Test in Russian outs cored the Latin students in Math, averaging 599; the Russian students, however, again scored much lower on the Verbal section (524). While many factors must be taken into account when interpreting standardized test scores, it can nonetheless be stated unequivocally 1) that Latin students nationally, at least those taking the Achievement Test, have again in 1980 scored significantly higher _ 144 points! - than the national average for the SAT Verbal; 2) that their Verbal scores are higher even than those of students taking the Achievement Test in other languages, including French, German, Hebrew, Russian and Spanish; 3) that their Math scores were also much higher - 122 points _ than the national average, and higher than those for students of all other languages except Russian (reflecting at least in part the correlation between mathematical skills and linguistic proficiency in general and the orderliness and regularity of Latin grammar in parti cular); and 4) that, while the decline in national SAT scores continues, the number of students taking the Latin Achievement Test is increasing (by 20% over last year), their Achievement Test scores have increased, and their scores on the SAT itself have increased. RICHARD A. LaFLEUR The demonstrated strength of high school Latin students, by comparison with their monolingual counterparts and even with their counterparts in the modern foreign languages, coincides with widely reported studies on the correlation between the study of Latin and English reading comprehension and vocabulary skills among students of other age groups, ranging from fifth graders through graduate _ or professional-school-bound college students. Universi ty of Georgia NOTICES / ANNONCES CASSIUS DID AND ROME A Conference of the Dio Proj ect Universi ty of Saskatchewan Saskatoon, Canada 1 - 2 April, 1982 For further information, lOTi te: Dr. P. M. Swan, Department of History, Universi ty of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada S7N OWO (306) 343-4235 OR Dr. J. W. H\DIlphrey, Department of Classics, Universi ty of Calgary, Calgary. Alberta Canada T2N IN4 (403) 284-5537 118 ...


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