Last year's average SAT scores for college-bound seniors were the lowest in nearly three decades, the not-for-profit College Board disclosed Aug. 29. The news, which directly contradicts other evidence that student achievement is on the rise, has educators and policy makers searching for explanations--and some are questioning once again whether the SAT, by far the most relied-upon indicator of college success, is an accurate measure of the skills that today's students should possess.

For 2006, combined scores for mathematics and critical reading dropped by seven points, or just under one percentage point, from the previous...

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