Redesigning the SAT: Fighting a Losing Battle

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Beginning in 2016, the College Board will be administering the redesigned SAT. Notable changes will include the return to the 1600 point scale, the lack of a vocabulary section, and the introduction of the now-optional essay. Fun fact: This supposedly new SAT will strongly resemble the old SAT which was administered until 2005.

Educators everywhere have expressed confusion and distaste with these changes.

“In essence, they’re admitting that the current version of the test was a mistake,” said Anthony Green, a SAT and ACT tutor of the children of Fortune 500 CEOs.

If the current SAT is such a mistake, then the College Board should be taking all of the actions necessary to fix it. A perfect standardized test is impossible, especially with the changing education standards of school districts everywhere today. If the College Board is truly attempting to improve an important evaluation test that affects the future of students, then the College Board should continue redesigning the SAT by all means.

However, this noble notion of bettering education is covered when we dig deeper into the results of these changes. As mentioned before, the redesigned SAT will no longer require the essay portion. This fact may seem wonderful for those who find the 25 minutes essays of the current SAT absurd and tedious; yet, these same people may be dismayed to find that many colleges will continue requiring you to take the optional essay portion of the SAT. On Stanford’s website, Stanford admissions specifies that they will require scores for all three portions of the SAT (Reading and Writing, Math, and Essay) even after March 2016.

Changing the SAT also seems unnecessary when an increasing amount of schools are removing the requirement of test scores from their applications. In August 1, 2015, George Washington University in Washington, DC removed standardized test scores from its admissions process. This removal of test score requirements is meant to emphasize the idea of holistic review processes — the evaluation of all aspects of a prospective student when considering acceptance into a college.

If creating the perfect standardized test truly is impossible and education institutions are already ditching the current SAT, we can only wonder why the College Board continues to hold onto the SAT. While there currently may not be a better way of judging applicants with the same national standards, the SAT is hindering the process of finding this better way. If we truly want to take a new step into the future of education, we have to risk the loss of the SAT to seek something better.

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