FairTest Questions the College Board on Plans for "New" SAT
for further information:
Bob Schaeffer (239) 395-6773
cell (239) 699-0468
for use with Wednesday, March 5, 2014 College Board news conference
COLLEGE BOARD PLANS FOR THE “NEW” SAT:
QUESTIONS FOR THE TEST-MAKERS
College Board President David Coleman is expected to unveil the outline for a highly promoted revision of the SAT undergraduate admissions test this week.
The most recent overhaul of the testing in 2005 added a controversial “Writing” test, largely composed of multiple-choice, copy-editing questions plus a short essay. Other sections were renamed or updated.
None of those changes addressed the SAT's historic flaws such as its inaccuracy, biases, and susceptibility to coaching. Nor has the College Board ever cracked down on widespread misuses of the SAT, such as requiring minimum scores for admissions or scholarships.
Here are key questions about the upcoming revisions from the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest), the country’s leading advocate for de-emphasizing the SAT and ACT.
WILL THE "NEW" SAT PREDICT COLLEGE PERFORMANCE MORE ACCURATELY THAN THE CURRENT EXAM DOES?
Independent studies demonstrate that a student's high school grades and courses taken provide a better forecast of college academic outcomes than the SAT does. So do College Board technical reports.
HOW WILL CHANGING THE SAT LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD FOR STUDENTS FROM DIVERSE BACKGROUNDS?
College Board research demonstrates that the SAT systematically under-estimates the academic potential of young women, students whose first language is not English, and applicants over 25.
CAN THE "NEW" SAT BE ANY LESS SUSCEPTIBLE TO COACHING?
The ability of test preparation to boost students' scores skews the college application process in favor of students whose families can afford the $1,000 or more that an intensive course costs. Whenever the exam is changed, the coaching business booms.
WHAT WILL THE COLLEGE BOARD DO TO STOP MISUSES OF ITS TEST SCORES?
To date, the College Board has not acted to stop test score misuses, such as minimum score cut-offs, that have a particularly harmful impact on opportunities available to African-Americans, Latinos, low-income students, and students with special needs.
WILL THE CHANGES TO THE SAT IMPROVE SCHOOL CURRICULUM?
There is an old adage in the measurement profession: "What is tested becomes what is taught!" No matter how the SAT changes, there will be strong pressure on teachers to drill students on the narrow subject matter and formats it covers. Test-prep drills replace more valuable learning opportunities.
HOW WILL UPCOMING CHANGES AFFECT THE TEST’S LENGTH AND COST?
After the 2005 revision, total SAT testing time rose from 3 hours to 3 3/4 hours. A cost increase of $12 per test-taker accompanied the changes. That boosted the College Board’s revenues by more than $30 million a year. The basic registration fee is now $51.
ARE THE CHANGES LIKELY TO REVERSE THE SAT’S MARKET SHARE DECLINE?
Two years ago, the ACT overtook the SAT as the nation’s most popular college admissions exam. In the high school class of 2013, 139,000 more seniors registered for the ACT than the SAT. Can repackaging the SAT for the second time in less than a decade stall the growing perception that the ACT is a more student-friendly exam, even though it is neither a better nor fairer predictor of college performance?
WHY SHOULD ANY COLLEGE REQUIRE THE SAT, OLD OR "NEW"?
More than 800 accredited, bachelor degree-granting institutions nationwide do not consider SAT or ACT scores before making admissions offers to substantial portions of their entering classes (see lists at http://fairtest.org/university/optional). They recognize that there is ample information in applicants' files to make accurate admissions decisions without distortions caused by SAT scores. A recent independent study confirmed that test-optional policies enhance campus diversity and academic excellence.
The following charts are available as PDF downloads:
- Chronology of 95 schools de-emphasizing ACT/SAT use since the 2004-05 revision of the SAT
- List of 150+ test-optional and test-flexible schools ranked in the top tiers of their respective categories
- Comparison of number of high school students taking the ACT and SAT annually over the past 20 years
- Links to other fact sheets on the SAT and related topics at: http://www.fairtest.org
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director
FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing
contributor: SAT Wars: The Case for Test-Optional College Admissions
office- (239) 395-6773 fax- (239) 395-6779
mobile- (239) 699-0468
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