Interesting Stuff

The SAT Test Is Changing / Why Standardized Tests Are A Waste Of Time

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The SAT test from the SAT College Board is one of the two most popular standardized tests used to get into post high school education and colleges.  The scores from the SAT and the ACT matter if you want to get into that well-known college you want to get into.  While I have never taken the SAT, I have taken the ACT a few times while in high school, and each time, I did poorly!  The one time when I also took the writing portion of the ACT, I had to write an essay about allowing cell phones in high school.  And when I got the results back, the reviewer said they could not understand what I am saying, maybe they could not read my handwriting!

Today, the ACT is mostly used down in the south by high schools and even state governments.  For example, the state of Alabama has ended the high school graduation exam, which I also did poorly on, and are now using the ACT Aspire instead.  Students are not charged to take the ACT Aspire the one time the state administers the test.  So now, the SAT is trying to revamp their test so more high school students will take the test.  And starting in Spring 2016, the SAT is going to look very different!  The test has been redesigned to match today’s career readiness.  And the new test will have questions aligned in math and English from the Common Core standards.  So if Alabama and the legislators decides to end Common Core, students are going to be in trouble when it comes to the SAT and the ACT.

Some of the changes in the new SAT includes going back to a 1600 point scale, not being penalized for a wrong answer, essay going back to optional, limited use of a calculator,  no more “obscure” vocabulary words, fewer multiple choice answers, and making a computer version of the test an option.  The new SAT test focus will be on analytical thinking in reading, writing, and mathematics. The College Board said the revisions are part of a campaign to widen access to higher education.  Here is a comparison picture of the old and new SAT test from AP.

NEW SAT

Some of the most significant changes in the new SAT test includes a passage from the U.S. founding documents, such as the Declaration of Independence, or conversations they’ve inspired.  The optional essay section will require students to read a passage and explain how the author constructed an argument.  Obscure vocabulary words you hardly ever hear of will also be replaced with those more likely to be used in classrooms or on the job.  And the math section will concentrate on areas that matter most for college and career readiness and success.  Basically, the new SAT test will prepare students taking the test for the adult and career lives they are about to face.

Yes, the new SAT test is good, but one has to wonder why the SAT or ACT test is even needed today?  Since most colleges and universities uses scores from the SAT or ACT in deciding which students gets into their schools, I think these tests are misleading.  Someone who gets very good grades in high school, and is very active in the high school environment, should get into any college or university they want too.  I believe the SAT and the ACT are needless barriers to access higher education and that high school grades are a better way to measure academic potential.  Thankfully, a growing number of colleges don’t require admission tests, and look at what each student does in their high schools.

So maybe the new SAT and ACT tests will more accurately measure a student’s unique talents and what they learned in high school instead of one’s thoughts that were crammed into one’s head in a cram session before the test.  I don’t want to see a college or university deny the chance of someone from getting a higher education because they can’t do well on the SAT or ACT.  Take it from me, who applied to many colleges and universities, and was denied each time because of my very low ACT score.

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