christopher squitieri dev sat scores by state compared to money spent on each pupil
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Christopher Squitieri: DEV SAT Scores by State compared to Money spent on Each Pupil

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Presentation Transcript

My interests and reason for analyzing SAT data developed after I was told about what the SAT meant in the college process. I was told from a very young age that the SAT would decide what college I would attend and how my life would play out. During the elections, I would hear the candidates discuss how they would give every child a chance at a good college by increasing the amount spent per student on education. I began to wonder if the amount spent per student has any correlation to the average SAT scores of each state.

data aquired
Data Aquired

Average SAT scores reported by state was acquired from the Collegeboard website. All salary information and state funding was gathered from a collection of US Census Bureau data.

preconceived expectations
Preconceived Expectations

The higher the amount spent on each student should have a positive effect on the average SAT scores. More money being spent on the students would result in more teachers, better books and smaller class sizes, right? The blue states constantly push to spend more and more on education, are they right?

Lets look at a graph


This defies the expectations stated in slide 4. The states that spent more per student actually have lower average SAT scores. There seems to be distinct groups, one of states that are spending large amounts and one of states spending less.


The Silver Blocks are the North Eastern States.

The Silver Diamonds are the Southern States.

North Eastern States spend more on average per student, but their scores do not reflect the large amount when compared with Southern States. Why is this?

one possible answer
One Possible Answer…

Is comparing the amount spent fair? Wouldn’t it cost more to educate a student in New York City than educating a student in rural Georgia? Let’s divided the amount spent by the average salary. This will give us a better reference point to compare each state. Will the trend continue, or were the results a product of higher or lower costs of education due to geographical region?

The Blue Cubes are the Southern States, and the Blue Diamonds are the North Eastern States.

This shows that the average amount spent per student divided by the average salary in the Southern States or the North Eastern States are proportionally indistinguishable from each other.

possible explanations
Possible Explanations

Why are the Southern States receiving higher scores, but spending less per student than the North Eastern States?

Most probable explanation first.

  • Only the top students in the South are taking the SAT, because the ACT is accepted by more Southern colleges than North Eastern colleges. The less people you have taking a test, the more likely it is that you will have a higher mean.
  • The money is not being used as efficiently in the North East as in the South. The Southern public schools are receiving less money to educate a student, but they may make up for it in other ways.


Scores by State 2005

State Funding:

Funding By State