Archive for March, 2014

WSJ: “SAT Reboot Revives 1600, Encourages Guessing”

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Recently, I commented on an article about a group of colleges not requiring SAT and/or ACT test scores as part of the application process. And today (March 6, 2014) in the Wall Street Journal, the article “SAT Reboot Revives 1600, Encourages Guessing” by Douglas Belkin, Caroline Porter and Stephanie Banchero reports on a monumental reshaping of the SAT – under the influence of several forces including (1) competition from the ACT, (2) shifting demographics of test-takers, and (3) demand for alignment with school learning.

One major change is no longer requiring the essay while also redirecting the essay focus. This reminds me to recall the paragraph from the Wikipedia entry for the SAT which tells how meaningless the essay portion of the SAT is.

Other changes are planned for focus and scope of SAT questions, and adjusting scoring so incorrect answers does not result in a deduction. In general, these are welcome changes and hopefully positive in its purpose for college admissions screening.

The College Board appears to be forecasting that its future lies in less competitive regions and school districts – an attempt to extend scope perhaps to the fast growing segment of borderline students. That is how the marketing features of this new product seems to line up.

Therefore, top universities should now feel more free to de-emphasize the SAT in favor of the personal statement and perhaps add a soft skills component evaluation (possible because of the lower stress one might expect from a less challenging SAT). Stanford already is doing this – it already expects valedictorian status, leadership experience and world view. Perhaps this is an opportunity for top universities to collaborate on a SAT replacement – one which seeks the personalities and mindsets of those who have been successful at the top end of intelligence and intellect – and will be the workforce leaders of the future.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to have students design such a test?

Perhaps for YCISL, we could have students design a test that they think would be most useful for college screening… by students, for students.