“New” SAT: High Anxiety, Little Change

University Testing

The scheduled introduction of a revised SAT in March 2005 (Examiner, Spring 2002 and Summer 2002) is causing near-panic among high school students, their parents and guidance counselors across the nation. Hundreds of newspaper stories have been written about the pending changes. The ACT has been forced to respond by adding an optional “Writing” section to its own exam. Internet discussion boards reverberate with arguments about whether it is best to take the old SAT, the “new test,” both exams, the ACT or none-of-the-above. Coaching courses report that befuddled sophomores are signing up in droves.

But a close look at the alterations to be made in the SAT reveals that the “new test” is little more than a cosmetic repackaging of portions of old exams. Despite the hullabaloo, the SAT will continue to be a poor predictor of college performance that is biased, inaccurate and highly coachable. Some of the changes will make the test’s chronic problems even worse. For details, see the FairTest fact sheet on page 28.