The College Board (keeper of the SAT) is hoping for some change. Unfortunately, the changes seem likely to make the test less useful than it currently is. In a word, easier:
In a way, an easier SAT makes sense. After all, college has become easier given grade-inflation, the reduction or elimination of core course requirements, and so forth.
Even so, it seems to me that colleges might still want to admit mostly students who can do non-easy things, such as correctly using difficult vocabulary words. At a minimum, colleges should want to be able to identify such students. If the SAT as we have known it did not assist colleges in this identification process — that is, if other tools such as the high school transcript were sufficient for this purpose — colleges would not still be using this tool.
I do think that this evaluation is true from the standpoint that it provides a reasonably objective national standard, whereas high school transcripts can be far too subjective.
But, is it not more likely that the SAT exists because there is an entire industry which has grown up around the test, an industry which encourages parents to shell out hundreds of dollars for SAT prep courses to help their offspring cram for the upcoming test–providing them with a short-term bump which is may not be indicative of long-term learning capabilities?
If that’s the case, is not the point of the changes (the simplification of the test) to ensure that more students will perceive value in the test, thereby continuing to fund the industry?
The SAT has been around for a long time, with its roots in the 1800s. It’s been a nationwide test for almost 40 years. Yet, in that time, we’ve seen the scores flat-line, and the cost of higher education explode.
What value is the SAT providing to those who take it? Or is the only value being provided to the colleges and universities which use the results to attract and then rank their own student bodies?
That’s a question which could use a well-crafted essay answer.