Quantcast
Connect with us

College Board announces several changes to 88-year-old SAT

Published

on

Getting into college in the United States will no longer hinge so much on a high school student’s grasp of arcane vocabulary or obtuse mathematical formulas.

Changes to the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) unveiled Wednesday are intended to breathe new vigor into the 88-year-old college entrance exam at a time when some critics are challenging its value.

“The changes to the SAT will distinguish it from any current admission exam,” said the College Board, the New York-based non-profit that oversees the test.

To take effect in March 2016, the revamped SAT will spare candidates the need to memorize words like “punctilious” or “lachrymose.”

Instead, they’ll be expected to interpret more common “high utility” words in the context in which they appear.

ADVERTISEMENT

For example, they might be asked if “intense” — as in, “a more intense clustering of jobs … in a smaller number of bigger cities” — means emotional, concentrated (the correct answer), brilliant or determined.

Math and algebra questions will focus on solving real-life scenarios, such as figuring out from a numerical table which age group had the biggest turnout in percentage terms in the 2012 U.S. presidential election.

“They’re trying to make the test serve as a better measure of critical thinking skills,” Jonathan Burdick, vice provost and dean of college admission at the University of Rochester in New York state, told AFP.

ADVERTISEMENT

– Still multiple choice –

The SAT remains multiple choice, but there will be four choices rather than five, and no points lost for wrong answers. An essay portion, requiring students to analyze a given argument within 50 minutes, will become optional — though many universities prefer to see it completed.

The changes come as the SAT, taken by 1.66 million students in the United States and abroad last year, fends off its 55-year-old rival, the American College Testing (ACT) assessment, which claims 1.8 million test-takers.

ADVERTISEMENT

Money is a factor.

The SAT, which is more common in the Northeast and Western states, costs $51 a test, while fees for the ACT, taken mainly in the Midwest and South, start at $36.50. Both tests cost more for those living abroad, but waivers are offered for children from lower-income households.

For those who can afford it, a $4.5 billion “test prep” industry stands ready to tutor youngsters, either with after-school and weekend classes in strip malls or in one-on-one sessions that can cost as much as $500 an hour.

ADVERTISEMENT

Some educators, however, wonder aloud if the SAT is worthwhile.

“The SAT will remain a weak predictor of undergraduate success,” said Bob Schaeffer of FairTest, an advocacy group, in a statement upon release of the revamped test.

“The exam will still under-predict the performance of females, students whose home language is not English, and older applicants” while wealthy families that can afford tutoring will still enjoy an advantage, he said.

ADVERTISEMENT

– Grades a better indicator? –

One study, published in February, looked at 123,000 students at 33 universities and found that a student’s average grades during high school were as good if not better an indicator of success in college than a test score.

“My hope is that this study will be a first step in examining what happens when you admit tens of thousands of students without looking at their SAT scores,” its lead author William Hiss told NPR public radio.

ADVERTISEMENT

“And the answer is, if they have good high school grades, they’re almost certainly going to be fine,” said Hiss, former dean of admissions at Bates College in Maine.

Out of the nearly 2,500 four-year public and private universities in the United States, more than 800 no longer use either the SAT or ACT to admit bachelor degree candidates, FairTest says.

“The SAT itself is not as centrally important to colleges or college-bound students as it used to be,” Burdick said. “And this change reflects — as much as anything — the Coke versus Pepsi-level fight between SAT and ACT for global market share.”

ADVERTISEMENT

[Image via Agence France-Presse]


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected]. Send news tips to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Mueller is signaling he’ll be tough witness — and it could play right into the GOP’s hands

Published

on

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller is sending a very clear message: He doesn’t want to testify.

That’s the not-so-subtle subtext of the announcement that Mueller plans to submit the 448-page report detailing the findings of the Russia investigation as a statement for the record during his hearing before the House scheduled for Wednesday. Of course, Congress already has the report, so the move isn’t necessary. It’s Mueller’s way of saying, as he has previously, “The report is my testimony.”

Continue Reading

Facebook

Maddow details how Stephen Miller’s backstory makes his anti-immigrant fantasy even more horrifying

Published

on

MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow interviewed the uncle of White House advisor Stephen Miller on Monday to detail the family's fascinating backstory.

"It begins at the turn of the 20th century, in a dirt-floor shack in the village of Antopol, a shtetl of subsistence farmers in what is now Belarus. Beset by violent anti-Jewish pogroms and forced childhood conscription in the Czar’s army, the patriarch of the shack, Wolf-Leib Glosser, fled a village where his forebears had lived for centuries and took his chances in America," Dr. David Glosser explained in Politico.

Continue Reading
 

2020 Election

‘The people of Montana are no fools’: Liberian refugee taking on Trump-loving Senator Steve Daines

Published

on

First-term Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) was one of the few members of Congress to praise President Donald Trump's racist "go back" taunts that his supporters turned into a "send her back" chant against a black former refugee.

https://twitter.com/SteveDaines/status/1150859069084905472

In response, the Billings Gazette chastised Daines in an editorial, saying, "Montanans are more sickened by the never-ending torrent of childish, bigoted views that are shoveled from the White House that make the country look like bigots and idiots. And we're nauseous when folks like Daines invoke our state in defending a spoiled New York developer who would get tongue-lashed by most Montanans for the way he takes to Twitter."

Continue Reading
 
 
 

Copyright © 2019 Raw Story Media, Inc. PO Box 21050, Washington, D.C. 20009 | Masthead | Privacy Policy | For corrections or concerns, please email [email protected]

Join Me. Try Raw Story Investigates for $1. Invest in Journalism. Escape Ads.
close-image