New SAT misses the mark
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Starting in March of 2016, the College Board will be implementing the redesigned SAT based on a 1600-point scale. While no standardized exam can ever perfectly represent a student’s intelligence, there are still attempts to measure a student’s capabilities through testing. This new exam, however, claims that the changes were put in place to better incorporate what is taught in the classroom.
It quickly becomes apparent that there are many disadvantages that come along with a new exam. Because it’s completely new, students aren’t able to prepare for it as they would the old SAT. Recently, the College Board has released practice exams to give students a sense for the test they will be taking in March, but it is a small amount compared to the plethora of resources the old SAT has.
In addition, there is the chance that there may be mistakes in the new test that need to be smoothed out.
The Class of 2017 are guinea pigs; all we know for sure is that the new SAT will be eliminating much of what is labeled as “trickery” in the old SAT, including “obscure” vocabulary, penalty for an incorrect answer, five answer choices, and the essay.
It seems as though College Board is making this test easier when it need not be. In a highly competitive society that is striving to advance, it’s odd that our testing should be taken to lower standards.
The SAT is a test colleges use to understand what students have learned in their years at high school, yet this new setup points towards an even more inaccurate depiction of what students are capable of.
Individuality between students is further driven to the ground as the essay is now optional.
The traditional 25-minute essay that asked students to write about their opinions on a certain prompt is no more; rather, there is now a passage and an essay analyzing what the author said in that passage. The previous essay allowed for the students to use what they had learned throughout their years in high school, choosing examples from literature, history, and even personal experience. Within those 25 minutes the students are tested on their ability to apply what they had learned throughout their years in the classroom to argue their case. The new essay is in more of a DBQ format, and does not incorporate such techniques.
Due to that fact that the mathematics section includes topics that not everyone takes, such as statistics, there is a strain on those with economic hardships. This test was designed to deemphasize test prep, but there seems to be no departure from that in reality. Students that attend good, well-funded schools have an advantage over those who don’t.
The changes that we see in the redesigned SAT closely resemble some of the material featured in the ACT. This drastic change may mostly have to do with business, as the ACT had recently surpassed the number of test takers that the SAT had.
For decades, the SAT had been the preferred method for colleges to gauge a student’s capabilities through a test.
These changes no doubt respond to that loss of statue, and it seems unfortunate that education often comes second to business.