Posts Tagged ‘SATs’

News Day Tuesday: College Panel Calls for Less Focus on SATs

September 30, 2008

Ahhhh…SATs. Dontcha just love ’em? What’s not to like about getting up early on a Saturday morning to sit at a school desk for almost 4 hours, filling in hundreds of little bubbles with a number 2 pencil, for a test that might determine which college you get into? And omigosh! What if you don’t do well and don’t get into a good college and don’t get a good job?? You’ll end up poor! And homeless! On the streets! Fishing through trash for half-eaten sandwiches! THIS TEST IS GOING TO DETERMINE THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!!!

Well…now is it? A recently released report on the relevance of college admissions tests (like the SAT Reasoning Test and the ACT) doesn’t seem to think so. In fact, after a year-long study, the committee recommended that colleges move away from using these kinds of tests as part of the application process, and instead focus on more achievement-based exams like the SAT Subject Tests, the APs (Advanced Placement), and the IBs (International Baccalaureate). The argument is that students should focus more “on high school courses that, based on evidence, will prepare them well for college and also prepare them well for the real world beyond college, instead of their spending enormous amounts of time trying to game the SAT.” And because getting into college is so competitive right now, many students are paying for additional preparation and tutoring for the SAT (or ACT), and this puts lower-income students at a disadvantage. But don’t take my word for it. Read the article here.

Now, in defense of the SAT Reasoning Test, it was originally intended to give disadvantaged students a fairer shot at getting into college. Ironic, huh? The man who came up with the original SAT felt that not all students had the privilege of attending schools that prepared them well in the basic subjects, but that students with high aptitude had the potential to do well in college, and so should be given a chance. But many people now argue that the SAT does not, in fact, measure aptitude or reasoning ability, and so should be done away with.

So what do the rest of you think? The SAT Reasoning Test or the ACT is required by most U.S. colleges for admission. Do you think these tests should be eliminated as part of the application process? Do you think these tests measure reasoning ability?

What about achievement tests? Do you think tests like the SAT Subject Tests, the APs, and the IBs are fairer?

What about all you gals of the international persuasion? Do you have to take reasoning or aptitude tests to get into college? Do you have to take any kind of tests? What do you think about the college application process in your country? Do you think it’s fair?

If you had the power to change the college admissions process, what would you do differently?

P.S. – For those who are taking the SATs this Saturday (or Sunday), good luck to all of you! Get enough rest, be confident, watch your timing, read the questions carefully, and avoid careless mistakes. 🙂