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What do you think of the changes being made to the SAT exam?

Posted by on Mar. 7, 2014 at 10:18 AM
  • 28 Replies

Planned Changes to SAT Exam Are Bad News for Kids

by Lisa Fogarty

When was the last time your boss used the word "dissentious" at your Monday morning meeting? According to the College Board, which produces the much-dreaded SAT exam, the fact that the answer to this question is probably "never" is reason enough to get rid of those pesky and difficult vocabulary words that are, well, known as "SAT words." Test-makers are also planning to make other big changes to the college entrance exam, including changing the scoring system from 2,400 points back to the 1,600-point system it once used. And if your teen just hates writing essays, no biggie. The essay portion will be optional.

Hmmm ... maybe high schools could just hand out college degrees at graduation and we could eliminate the test altogether?

The board wants to make these changes to the test in spring 2016 because it feels the exam should better reflect what students will need to know when they enter the workplace. Instead of testing teens on words like "acumen" and "cupidity," they want to include vocabulary they might actually hear on the job. So, does this mean they should expect to see totally annoying phrases like "Let's leverage the data" and "We'll touch base about that offline"? Maybe they can write "how-to" instructions on how to successfully order coffee for five senior managers?

But that would mean they'd have to pick up a pen and write. Never mind.

To be fair, many colleges now favor the ACT exam instead of the SAT, and a great many others are looking at a student's comprehensive academic portfolio, as well as extracurricular activities, before making final decisions about who they will admit. This is crucial because some children are simply not great at taking tests and it wouldn't be fair to judge them based on test scores alone.

At the same time, I can't help but feel we're lowering the standards for our children at a time when they should be pushed, assuming a college degree is something they really, really want. If the concern is that students aren't being tested for skills they'll need in the workplace, bring back trade and vocational schools and offer a different test for teens who only want a college degree so they can pursue a specific job.

Higher education is designed to expose kids to ideas and theories -- including those they may not need once they sit down in front of a computer at work. It's supposed to make them more well-rounded individuals. When my child reaches college age, I hope the expectations set for her are more -- and not less -- rigorous.

What do you think of the changes being made to the SAT exam?

by on Mar. 7, 2014 at 10:18 AM
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Replies (1-10):
purpleducky
by Silver Member on Mar. 7, 2014 at 10:58 AM
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1) The SAT has never been a good predictor of how well a student will do in college

2) The change (by what I understand) is taking it back to how it was so I don't understand the issue

3) DOWN WITH THE SYSTEM!!!

TranquilMind
by Platinum Member on Mar. 7, 2014 at 11:25 AM
4 moms liked this

 I don't like it.  I have one coming down the pike who will have to do the new, dumbed-down exam, though I'm glad they have increased the analytical requirements of the essay.   My kids are academics though. 

And I like esoteric vocabulary words.

What I really don't like is the entire "university as big business" system and its corruption.    

highlandmum
by Member on Mar. 7, 2014 at 11:40 AM
3 moms liked this

 We do not have anything like the SAT's here.  If you want into university you better have very good marks or you are not getting in.  I really do not see why Universities put such a large weight on one test.

furbabymum
by Gold Member on Mar. 7, 2014 at 11:49 AM
2 moms liked this

 I actually do get to see those big words at my job and I love knowing them and how to use them. The SAT isn't a test you take if you're going to the workplace, it's a test you take to get into college. Changing the test to reflect the workplace is just stupid imo.

furbabymum
by Gold Member on Mar. 7, 2014 at 11:50 AM
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 This is why I believe they rely on the tests, the U.S. is very very large. Schooling is not uniform through the U.S. As such a uniform test is needed to accurately gauge the knowledge of potential candidates.

Quoting highlandmum:

 We do not have anything like the SAT's here.  If you want into university you better have very good marks or you are not getting in.  I really do not see why Universities put such a large weight on one test.

 

Ziva65
by Gold Member on Mar. 7, 2014 at 12:02 PM
1 mom liked this

I have three in the middle of it. I'm not concerned really. One will get in under the change, and the other 3 will be right after it. They have taken the PSAT though- in that sense I don't really know what good prep it is.

 From what I understand from various college admissions counselors and planners is that in order to get into a good college/ university- they need to still have a 4.0 average, take as many  honors and AP courses as they can, take the SAT and ACT tests, and take anything that is optional. The SAT/ACT may make the difference for the university of their choice. (But, even then, I know kids who got into great UC's who didn't have a 4.0, and they turned away others who did, both with relatively the same SAT scores... there are certainly other factors at play.

The other thing is that the big ones use automated systems to filter through the applicants, an these are all objective measures. The smaller more personal universities acutally have a person :) I suspect that is where my kids will end up, the big ones are like a machine- that may not be a fit for my kids.

One said that the SAT scores is what also gets kids more merit scholarships since a 4.0 is a given. Is the SAT/ACT a good reflection of their knowledge or ability? I don't think so. I've seen kids study daily for it, download the vocab words on their phone, take every prep class they can get- and scored almost perfectly- they are focused on doing well on it. Did they get to their first choice? some do and some don't. IDK, each college/university has different requirements/ numbers and stats. There are so many factors at play here.

IT is what it is, I can't stress about it. I have one who struggles to get a good GPA, and he is really the most intelligent of my kids. So that alone is apparent that even our grading system and testing methods doesn't reflect their true abilities.

We will see. I like to see a bit more detail so that they can prep well for it though.

Are there any college planners or college admissions counselors here?

coolmommy2x
by Gold Member on Mar. 7, 2014 at 12:20 PM
4 moms liked this
I remember in 11th grade my English teacher doing a ton of work with us on how to break down the words to find their roots which would help us understand the word if we didn't know what it meant. It's ashame kids won't learn that. Big words are OK!

Quoting furbabymum:

 I actually do get to see those big words at my job and I love knowing them and how to use them. The SAT isn't a test you take if you're going to the workplace, it's a test you take to get into college. Changing the test to reflect the workplace is just stupid imo.

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highlandmum
by Member on Mar. 7, 2014 at 12:21 PM

 To my knowledge the tests are not uniform across Canada either.  You have three main levels of courses in our high school system - Advance Placement (the old enriched), Academic, and Applied.  If you want to attend university you need to be in  the AP or Academic stream, if you are looking toward college you only need applied.  Each university sets its own requirements and these change with the province the student comes from.

Quoting furbabymum:

 This is why I believe they rely on the tests, the U.S. is very very large. Schooling is not uniform through the U.S. As such a uniform test is needed to accurately gauge the knowledge of potential candidates.

Quoting highlandmum:

 We do not have anything like the SAT's here.  If you want into university you better have very good marks or you are not getting in.  I really do not see why Universities put such a large weight on one test.

 

 

Ziva65
by Gold Member on Mar. 7, 2014 at 12:40 PM

 Kids are doing that- my son is in AP English, and my others are in Honors English 9- they are learning the root words and then have to figure out others based on that. It's actually part of training for the SAT vocab words.

For fun, I've sat with my son working on some of those SAT words, he uses them in papers all the time and they do come in handy... there are all sorts of vocab programs to learn these, even if they won't be required.

Quoting coolmommy2x: I remember in 11th grade my English teacher doing a ton of work with us on how to break down the words to find their roots which would help us understand the word if we didn't know what it meant. It's ashame kids won't learn that. Big words are OK!
Quoting furbabymum:

 I actually do get to see those big words at my job and I love knowing them and how to use them. The SAT isn't a test you take if you're going to the workplace, it's a test you take to get into college. Changing the test to reflect the workplace is just stupid imo.

 

MelanieJK
by Silver Member on Mar. 7, 2014 at 12:51 PM

A common complaint is that we teach to these tests.     Since our kids don't do well on the tests we're obviously not even good at that so I don't see how failing to effectively teach to a different test is going to solve anything.      We have a teaching problem not a test problem.   

Requiring they show their work and analysis suggests they're going to give them points for effort even though they don't get the answer right.     At some point in life they have to get the right answers.    A big part of learning is knowing what works for you.    Kids need to figure that out long before they're taking this test.

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