SAT Changes Come As Admissions Processes Evolve


Coverage continued over the weekend of the College Board’s announcement of a major overhaul of the SAT. USA Today (3/10, Toppo) reports that the “surprise” move comes amid “several recent challenges for the College Board itself, including skepticism from colleges about the test’s usefulness and competition from the rival ACT test.” The article notes that the change also comes during a push for improved college readiness among high school graduates, describing the changes as intended to help low-income students have a better chance at success.

        Local Educators Respond To SAT Changes. The Washington Post (3/10, Anderson) reports on reactions to the revisions among local educators in Fairfax County, Virginia. The piece notes that career center specialist Amy Hackett Ferguson advises her students to take both the SAT and the ACT to improve their chances of doing well on one of the other. The piece notes that Ferguson “said she hopes the new SAT --with fewer tricks and obscure vocabulary words --lives up to the College Board’s goal of helping more kids go to college.”

        WPost Criticizes Proposed SAT Changes. The Washington Post (3/9) editorializes that upcoming changes to the SAT, which are intended to “move the exam closer to what students actually learn in high school, rather than testing a set of skills that they and colleges might find less relevant,” is “a fine idea,” but criticizes moves to make the test easier in order to compete with the ACT. The Post argues that “a better approach would include a rigorous exam, or set of exams, linked tightly to the content and skills students claim to have learned, a system more akin to the Advanced Placement program than to the old SAT.”

        Parker: SAT Seems To Sink To An Undereducated Level. Columnist Kathleen Parker laments the changes to the SAT college entrance exam in the Washington Post (3/8). She says that “one does fear that such tweaking is really a stab at greater market share” and is more a reflection of “the gradual degradation of pre-college education” and an over-sensitivity to unequal access to education. She writes, “We can’t make the world perfectly equal outcome-wise, but we can keep trying to improve opportunity through better schools and teachers. This is where the real challenges lie, but this, too, is perhaps too hard. Making tests easier so that more will pass becomes a far more accessible solution.”

        More Commentary. A Bloomberg News (3/10) editorial says that the changes “could reduce the influence of the multibillion-dollar test-preparation industry, which warps educational priorities and helps exacerbate educational inequality.” This article notes that the College Board “cannot erase the test-prep industry in one fell swoop,” but adds that the changes “are seemingly part of a larger, praiseworthy shift in focus by the College Board from expanding revenue to expanding accessibility.”

        Newsday (3/10) editorializes that though the changes may be desirable, “they are unlikely to reduce the suffocating pressure felt by teen test-takers” or satisfy critics of “the SAT’s role in the college admissions process.” The piece notes that area admissions officers “say a student’s high school grades and the toughness of his or her curriculum are better predictors of college success than standardized test scores.”