Changes Ahead for the SAT, Students and Standardized Test Preparation


Changes Ahead for the SATAs 2016 edges closer so does a change of seismic proportions for many high school students and parents. Rippling through lives of not only students and their parents, but also education professionals across the country, this change, of course, is the redesigned SAT that will be given for the first time this spring.

The SAT has gone through many changes in its time as the benchmark for entrance to colleges and universities.  However it’s popularity has been waning, and it’s mission blurred.  The SAT was initially developed to provide information about a student’s potential, or aptitude, as in the name Scholastic Aptitude Test.  Over the years, however, as scores reflect expensive test preparation and privilege, rather than natural abilities or educational background, many oppose the use of standardized tests as a bloated system requiring months of memorizing tricks and tips to get top scores.

Last year, Mr. David Coleman and College Board, owners of the SAT, heralded in the change of an era with the statement,  “What this country needs is not more tests, but more opportunities.” In 2012 Mr. Coleman became president of the nonprofit company College Board, and in an announcement in March of 2014, Mr. Coleman stated, “The real news today is not just the redesigned SAT, but the College Board’s renewed commitment to delivering opportunity.”  The College Board, and Mr. Coleman have said the purpose of the revisions are to make the test more transparent and relevant to the student’s day to day work in the classroom.   The new test should reflect a student’s best work, but can that be accomplished in any nationwide standardized test?

Many criticize the effort stating the College Board’s own free test preparation, released with announcements of the redesigned test, contradict the message that the test is a more realistic evaluation of student knowledge. This comes along with increasing scrutiny for standardized tests overall, as a growing number of colleges allow for optional submission of test scores.  A recent study by National Association for College Admission Counseling, the NACA, shows that those who submit scores when optional, have no significant difference in the graduation rates and academic performance of those who don’t, calling into question the very reason for the tests.

From the initial ideas of predicting a student’s potential to current hopes of providing opportunities for all students, it appears expectations can’t match the reality of the SAT, or perhaps standardized tests in general.  What do you think of the College Board’s changes to the SAT? Will the new changes be able to address current concerns with standardized tests and test preparation?

Can a standardized test truly reflect a student’s abilities? What place should scores have in the admission process to colleges and universities and what can be done to help students taking these tests? We’d like to know your opinions. Please share them in the comments section below.

2 Responses to Changes Ahead for the SAT, Students and Standardized Test Preparation

  1. Bob Rose says:

    I know that most American students finishing first-grade still can’t name and write all of the alphabet letters; that this is needless and causes our reading problem.

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