From an editorial Thursday on Bloomberg View:
The College Board has put future test-takers and their high-priced tutors on notice: Studying in school may soon be at least as important as prepping for the SAT.
College Board President David Coleman announced Wednesday changes to the test, given in some form since 1901, that will make it more accessible and, not incidentally, harder to game. If it succeeds, the new SAT could reduce the influence of the multibillion-dollar test-preparation industry, which warps educational priorities and helps exacerbate educational inequality.
The SAT, taken by some 1.66 million students in the high school class of 2013, currently comprises three sections: critical reading, mathematics and writing, which includes an essay. The essay will now be optional and will require students to analyze a passage of text rather than answer an open-ended question, so pre-packaged and potentially false examples are no longer as relevant. Part of the math portion will forbid calculators, so say goodbye to some of those tricks on your TI-89 Titanium graphing calculator. And students will no longer be penalized for incorrect answers, so cancel those test-prep strategy sessions.
The new exam, scheduled to be ready in two years, will now align its focus with what is taught in school.
The changes to the SAT are seemingly part of a larger, praiseworthy shift in focus by the College Board from expanding revenue to expanding accessibility.
Exactly what an improved standardized test can do to address poverty is the kind of question a reasonably intelligent high school student could tackle in an essay. All the same, the changes are worthwhile. If they can help improve educational equality and increase social mobility even a little bit, well, that is surely worth the loss of a few eccentric vocabulary words.
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email email@example.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer. Read moreRead less
The Charlotte region is vast and diverse. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all. The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day, but we ask that you keep the discourse civil.
- Do not use profanity or obscenities. And don't try to camouflage profanity with asterisks, abbreviations or other symbols or foreign phrases.
- Do not use threatening language. Talk of violence won't be tolerated.
- No racial, gender or sexual-orientation name-calling.
- Do not attack other commenters for their views. Do not libel or defame anyone or violate their privacy.
- Keep your comments succinct and stay on topic. Comments that bear no relation to the story may be deleted.
- Do not add images to your comments.
- Do not report comments as abusive simply because you disagree with them. Report them only if they violate these guidelines.
- Do not post spam or advertising of any kind.
- Do not post a comment using all capital letters.
We do not monitor each and every posting, but we reserve the right to block or delete comments that violate these rules.
You can help: Notify us of violations by hitting the "Report Abuse" link. Users who continue posting comments that violate these guidelines may, at our discretion, be blocked from submitting future comments as well.
And finally, as Mark Twain said: "Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest."
Enjoy the discussion.