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.
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