The Story behind the SAT Overhaul

Certification: Admission Tests SAT - Scholastic Aptitude Test


Have you heard that Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) is being overhauled?  The essay portion introduced back in the year 2005 would be optional, taking the total score of the test down to 1600 points.  In addition, questions are going to change. They would introduce new questions whose style would differ from the style of the traditional questions. These questions will be in line with what teachers will teach to students in the classroom, to change a field where students who could afford test tutoring had upset in the recent years.  Why was this so?  Teachers, parents, students and even colleges did not like the SAT test as it was. It was stressful and interfered with the regular work.

The responsible examination body made slight changes to the SAT after its revision in the year 2005, a fact that frustrated many of the growing colleges and universities.  A report issued back in the year 2008 by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) which sought to eliminate the SAT and also its competitor A.C.T, as admission requirements after following the lead of those small and liberal art colleges who did so years before motivated students, teachers and colleges. The NACAC author report cited a university that had characterized the SAT as one of the poor predictors of student’s performance.  The report also questioned the tendency of colleges to rely on the SAT as one of the important admission tool.

Around the time the report was out, Wake Forest University sociology professor released the piece, “The power of privilege”, and an account of how standardized tests contributed to increased discriminatory admission policies. Wake Forest became one of the highly rated universities to announce for test optional Admission University policy. By the year 2012, top ten percent of their high school classes consisted of 79 percent of students enrolling to the Wake Forest University. Before the university shifted to the test optional, its figures were low (60 percent). In addition, the school had become less homogeneous. The optional test was highly correlated with the income of most families.

According to David Coleman, the new College Board president decided to deal with the biggest problem with the SAT. It was easy for one to prepare for the test, and the results showed that richer kids did better because they had more resources and time to prepare for the test than poor kids did.

Coleman failed to offer any specifics such as those that attracted so much attention when SAT had its overhaul back the year 2005. By that time, the changes included the addition of writing examination and elimination of the notorious analogy questions.

Coleman also said that the next SAT should be tailor-made to help students and colleges to focus on the core set knowledge and skills that are very essential to the colleges and the career success. He proposed that the future SAT would  reinforce the practice of enriching  valuable schoolwork, fostering greatness in opportunities for students to  make successful transitions into their postsecondary education and also ensure equity and fairness prevails.

He became even more critical to the SAT and in particular the writing text. He endorsed the addition of the SAT portion, but it led him to question the current test rewards argument, without requiring test taker to use material or facts.

He also said that, “Now am all for creativity and innovation,” but not the kind of creativity needed for inspiring the generations and youths to come.  If writing is going to be ready for the demand of career and the college, it must be precise; it should be accurate, and it has to present evidence. He concluded  by saying that he thought that there was a good reason to think about design of the SAT rather than student just writing an essay, source materials have to be there to allow for analysis. Coleman later pledged that many opportunities should be availed to educators to provide some idea on how to improve the SAT. However, the College Board officials declined to discuss the process. Due to failure to realize that, SAT affects millions of peoples.

In the language, Coleman used to describe his goals for SAT with reference to coursework, which matched language that guidance counselors proposed to be beneficial to students who sat for the ACT. They suggested that a student who works hard in rigorous courses but does not test well would do better in ACT.

Students also claimed that they encountered problems in SAT writing. The SAT assessment required students to write an opinion essay yet no information had been availed to them. In other words, you write what your opinion is on the subject, but there are no facts on the table to support that.

Students despised the SAT not only because of the anxiety it caused, but also because it had become a barrier to entry to colleges they dreamed of attending. Furthermore, they did not know what to expect from the examination, which made them feel that it played tricks on them by asking questions they had never encountered in their high school courses. Teachers also realized that the tests did not reflect they taught in class, and yet the State Education Department published the average SAT scores that reflected the poor performance.

Another SAT overhaul is will be the year 2016. With the future SAT test, students will no longer have to write an essay as they used to do before, they will no longer be attract penalties for writing wrong answers. What is more, they will no longer be able use their calculators as they wished; examiners will monitor the use of calculators too.


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