Mona Charen

Additionally, Murray doesn't account for the important male/female difference in test performance, particularly on aptitude tests. (Cards on the table: I write as a parent of three boys.) For whatever reason, during the past 30 years, our society has seen girls outperforming boys at every level of education. The average high school GPA for girls is 3.09. For boys, the average is 2.86. About one quarter more boys than girls drop out of high school, and boys are three times as likely to be expelled. Girls do significantly better at reading proficiency in all grades. And in math, traditionally a male preserve, the two sexes are tied. Women now earn 58 percent of bachelor's degrees and 60 percent of master's degrees in the U.S.

Something is going on. It may be the significant attention the educational establishment has lavished on girls, the lure of video games, the lack of fathers in so many homes, the fact that boys mature more slowly than girls, or maybe none of those. But we do know that whatever may be inhibiting them from excelling in high school as much as girls, boys do score proportionately better on the SATs.

In 2010, a total of 382 students scored a perfect 2400. Of these, 206 were boys, and 176 were girls. (If the writing test is omitted, 1,305 students got a 1600 -- 820 boys and 485 girls.) Among those who scored a 2350, 341 were boys, and 266 were girls. The same rough ratios hold (with one exception) for all of the scores in the top 10 percentiles. At the 90th percentile and below, some of the girls' scores are higher than the boys'. And in the middle range, it's a mixed bag.

So long as college requires mental ability, the SATs will remain a signal that boys with less than perfect high school records may be late bloomers or perhaps were ill served by their schools. But scrapping one of the few remaining avenues for talented boys to show, yes, their aptitude, seems unwise.


Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
 
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