The changing of the SAT

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We just went through three kids taking the SAT's.  I am not going to say it was pretty because it wasn't.  They all went to a school that did not spend a good part of the curriculum on testing but more on group learning.  Not to say that there were not tests but not really until high school. Needless to say they all had to learn how to take the SAT.  They were all diligent and got to the other side with tears, anger and frustration.  

I hated the SAT when I was a kid.  I bagged all the classes I was supposed to attend to learn about the test and instead went to softball practice.  I performed terribly but luck had it that the college that chose me looked at all the other things I did.  That admissions department also had the ability to read every application thoughtfully because there was not a common app on a computer that gave me the ability to apply to 15 schools with one click.  

There are multiple things wrong with the SAT starting with gender inequality and most important it easier for kids who can pay to learn how to take the test.  I am spewing data here.  The good things are that there are kids who have not performed that well in school but through pure smarts do awesome on the test.  That certainly says something about that particular kid.  It also helps universities and colleges create a pipe line of which application to read first.  If you are not even near the scores for that particular school then it becomes a reach and my guess it becomes a reach for the school to take that application seriously.  I'd say that applying early is a way to get around that but early applications do not take financial needs into account so if you need them and get accepted and then do not get financial help you are in big trouble.  The whole system is tilted towards the privelege.  Woudn't it be amazing if there was another formula vs the SAT to truly measure each students potential.  I am not sure that there is or ever be.  

Some schools have stopped looking at SAT's.  Someone told me the other day that their university decided a few years ago to make the test optional as part of the application process.  Ends up they have data on the kids that were accepted without the scores and they have done better than the ones with the high scores.  Interesting.  I probably would have been one of those kids.  I did pretty good in college but failed miserably at the SATs.  

The person who helped our kids prep for the SAT who knows the system well and incredibly smart said this; We are witnessing the dumbing down of civilization. This redesign seems very utilitarian and anti-intellectual.  An interesting perspective.  As horrible and frustating as the test is I am not sure changing it is the answer.  People will figure out how to game this too.  

Either get rid of the test, figure out how to have kids apply to less than 10 schools and start looking at the whole kid.  Not sure this change makes a difference.  It just creates another host of problems.