Saturday, March 15, 2014

What To Do About the New SAT (uncut version)

As you probably noticed in my last post titled What To Do About the New SAT, my editor believes in brevity.   She thought my original post was verbose, but I wanted to share it anyway.  What follows is the uncut version of the post.

The SAT is getting a makeover.

Current high school freshmen will be the guinea pigs for this test in Spring 2016, according to the College Board.

There is a lot of ‘chatter’ on the internet in response to this announcement.

What can students do about the new SAT?  

Don’t take it.  

Yep, you heard me.  Don’t take it.

I hear you.  That’s crazy talk.  How will my student get into college?  How will they qualify for scholarships?  

Stick with me and let’s look at several reasons I give this advice.

1.  It’s about the money.  The College Board is making this change because they are losing market share of testing to the ACT.  Do they really care if the change is better?  I don’t really know, but it looks like the change will make the SAT very similar to the ACT.  You can see what they say the changes are here. This website also outlines the coming changes.

2.  It’s about the money.  The College Board says this will level the playing field for everyone taking the test.  Apparently, according to them, students who can afford to pay for test prep have an unfair advantage.  It’s true you can pay for test prep, but that doesn’t guarantee a good score.  It is also true that a dedicated student can find free test prep online.

If indeed the test is supposed to assess what students learn in school, why is test prep even needed?  Cramming for a standardized test is not the best way to prepare.

3.  It’s about the money.  Is it a coincidence that the new president of the College Board, David Coleman, is also the architect of Common Core?  Align the SAT with Common Core and maybe more students will take the SAT?  Align the SAT with Common Core and maybe more schools/states will accept it (CC)?  

If my student doesn’t take the SAT how will they get into college?

Take the ACT test.

Colleges accept ACT scores for admission and award scholarships based on high ACT scores.

You don't have to take the SAT test, you can take the ACT test for the same purpose (except National Merit Qualifying).

I find there are parents and students who don’t know this because the SAT, historically, gets all the hype.


Have your student take the PSAT their junior year.  If they do not get a National Merit qualifying score, don’t even bother taking the SAT.  Take the ACT test instead.

Only time will truly tell, but if the SAT and ACT are so similar, one is unnecessary.

What is your response to the new SAT?

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