The new SATs bring pros and cons

            On April 16, the College Board announced blueprints for a redesigned SAT test, which brought mixed reactions to the standardized test. I believe the College Board tried to fix many problems in the SAT test by realigning it with schoolwork, but the test will become easier than before. As a consequence, it will be more difficult for the selective colleges to pick the top students since it is easy for more people to get good scores.

            The revised SAT will begin in 2016. Just like the ACT, the mandatory essay will be optional, and there will be no guessing penalty in the new SAT. The vocabulary section will use more words related to college study instead of some words normal people probably will never use after SAT test. The math section, which currently covers a broad range of areas, will now focus on three: proportional thinking, functions, and linear equations. Calculators will no longer be allowed in the new SAT test. Also, the College Board promises free instructional videos and online practice problems with the education website Khan Academy before introducing the new test.

By realigning the new SAT test with material taught in high schools, the College Board wants to resolve the legitimate complaint of low-income students who cannot afford expensive test prep services. I’m not sure what will happen, but I hope the new SAT will be fairer for the low-income students. By attempting to be more in line with the high school materials that most high school students learn, students will have greater opportunity to be successful. Also, students do not need to pay for test prep services because they have learned a lot material in the new SAT from the curricula of their high schools. I am pleased to see that the College Board is doing a good job of making the new SAT fairer for low-income students.

However, I believe that the difficulty level of the SAT will decrease after this reform, although College Board believes the difficulty will stay the same. The easier vocabulary words will make the reading section less challenging. To add to that, if the College Board decided to ban calculators in the math sections, the ranges and diversity of problems will be limited since students do not have calculators to figure them out. If the College Board keeps making the test easier, a lot more people could get perfect scores on the math section, and I am afraid there will be score inflation.

While the new SAT will make students’ lives easier, it may make the college admission process more difficult since the number of people with high SAT scores will increase. Although the standardized tests are not the only factor to get students into colleges, it is an important and essential factor if the student wants to get in a really competitive school. It may be difficult for college admissions to filter outstanding students since more students will have higher scores.

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