Your Opinion: The New SAT

If you’re a junior student, you most likely took a college admissions test called the SAT today. And you probably saw a few words you’ll never see again in  your life.  

Just last month, the College Board announced a new makeover of the test: removing the penalty on guessing, cutting obscure vocabulary words and making the essay optional, as the president David Coleman calls the previous SAT “disconnected from the work of our high schools.” Vocabulary relevant to college courses such as “empirical” and “synthesis” will be emphasized, and the math section will cover many topics, focusing on linear equations, functions and proportional thinking. Furthermore in the spring of 2016 (our current freshmen class), new programs aiding low-income students, who will now be given fee waivers allowing them to apply to four colleges at no charge. 

However, on the opposing side, critics call the test “marketing bells” for well-to-do parents to pay for more test prep at SAT workshops and private lessons. Experts denounce the changes in the test as merely “different,” and not a true evaluation of a student’s performance. For example, the option of the timed essay is a component already recognized by most admissions offices as ineffective (barely 200 schools require applicants to take an admissions test with the essay). The critics’ two cents worth? High school grades are still the better predictors of undergrad academic performance than test scores.

 Photo credit: Business Insider

 

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  • Honestly, I don’t even understand why the SAT is mandatory anymore. Higher education is a big business; colleges just want your money. Retention and graduation rates are nice statistics, but ultimately so many people have bought into the idea that college is the only way to get ahead in life or be a productive member of society that those numbers are almost superfluous now. College is almost an inelastic good–people will pay (mostly by borrowing) whatever amount they need to go. Colleges know this, so the SAT almost seems like a formality. “You only scored 900 on your SAT? But you’ve got a check? Well get in there!”

    • I definitely agree with your idea that the prospect of college guaranteeing success – even in Ivy Leagues – is so bought in nowadays. I am only a high school sophomore, yet I know it’s obvious that schools are such a big deal – and many kids walk out with four years of tuition loans, unable to find a job for their major. Thanks for the comment!

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