the SAT’s

Years ago when I had to take those god awful SAT’s I didn’t believe in the test.  I recall that I took a group prep test with about 45 other people and never showed up because I had softball practice.  It was a rebel thing.  I thought the tests were stupid.  They were not a realistic picture of my capabilities.  Actually looking back on what I scored and what I have done with my life, I was right.

The test still exists and my small rebellion did nothing to change anything. If anything I hurt myself by not learning how to take the test.  After all, it is a learned skill.  Of course you have to be familiar with the content. To be able to understand exactly the answer they are looking for is entirely another thing.  It is like a tough crossword puzzle.  The key is the last few letters.

I do understand that colleges get a tremendous amount of applications and the SAT scores allow them to make a cut off on who they will look at.  Good or bad, there has to be some type of process particularly because each state and each school is different.  How do you level the platform? So in essence if there are 20,000 people applying for 1200 spots and the cut off point is a combined score of 1800 (including the writing part which now accounts for 1/3 of the test for a score of 2400) and that lets the school only look at 8000 of those applications, I get it.  They  might miss out on some possible great candidates but that is a risk you have to take.

I have always felt that grades, activities and an interview were the most important.  The whole child. Also, some of the most successful people I know didn’t go to the best colleges. But everyone has that story.

The SAT has become such a gage for the universities and colleges.  So, when the institution that grades those tests screws up, it is appalling.  The SAT scores are one of the many stressful parts of High School.  Waiting for the score.  Perhaps taking the test again.  Then when you get a score  you can’t imagine you got because you thought you did well and it harms your chances of getting into the school of your choice and you find out that the test was miscalculated against you by 400 points, you are more than freaked since all the acceptance letters are already out. A rambling sentence but I am trying to make a point here.  This is exactly the life of a teenagers mind. 

What is the remedy?  Should we just slap the College Board on the hand?  Perhaps colleges and universities should start looking at the whole child and measuring their abilities on how they fit into a particular institution in another way.  How?  I don’t know but my guess is if people start delving into the College Board, there will discover that there has been other testing flaws over the years that have just been covered up.  There should be a public outcry over the credibility of these tests. 

The College Board earns revenues of over $480 million a year.  Whoever came up with this company was a genius.  We have become reliant on them but their credibility has gone down the drain.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Peter Wunsch

    Wait ’til you have a high school junior in YOUR HOUSE, then you will have opinions about this that make your memory seem tepid. As for the testing, today 10% of the colleges do not require SAT scores and Princeton is much too big a CORPORATION to allow this past season to ruin their business, the damage control there is on 24/7.

  2. whatisee

    The College Board is located on the Upper West Side near Lincoln Center if you’d like to stop by and say hi. They even helpfully label the building with their name. I was expecting baricades would be put up when this story first came out. It appears none were necessary

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