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New SAT Sample Questions Pose Disadvantages for Educators, Students

New SAT Sample Questions Poses Disadvantages for Educators, Students

The College Board has released sample questions from the updated SAT college-entrance exam, and some educators say the changes could put students at a disadvantage.

In his speech last spring, College Board President David Coleman "finally acknowledged the common criticism that the current SAT has little to do with the work students do in high school and will do in college," according to an article on TheAtlantic.com. "He promised that the redesigned test would be more in tune with what happens in the classroom."

The new test, the article said, "will correspond with the Common Core Standards—the controversial math and reading benchmarks whose design and implementation Coleman happened to spearhead before taking over the College Board."

"That means the new SAT could have the opposite of its intended effect, at least in the near term, closing opportunities for students who aren’t yet well-versed in the standards," the article said. "Kids who lack access to in-person test preparation from tutors like me—who are trained to analyze the new test material and develop strategies for raising scores—could also suffer. The most vulnerable students are those who live in low-income areas or don’t speak English as a first language."

According to the article, "The College Board's decision to eliminate the vocabulary component from the reading section and redesign the essay portion has garnered lots of attention. But it’s the revision of the math section that could have particularly egregious consequences."

"The new SAT will focus on fewer types of math than the current version does, sacrificing breadth for depth and testing students on the material the College Board believes to be most essential to 'college and career success,'" said TheAtlantic.com. "That might sound like good idea. But with this change in focus comes a change in question style. And that’s problematic."

The article said that "one problem with tying the SAT to these new standards is that it will force students and schools to play a long game of catch-up."

Most states will be gradually implementing the standards over the next few years—assuming it will only take that long and assuming that any student taking the exam attends a school that is successfully using standards. At last check, 42 states are in the process of implementing the Common Core standards—three of the original participants dropped out—but they are doing so at different rates.

According to the article, "Coleman and the College Board tout the SAT as a measure of what they define as 'college readiness,' but what this peek at some questions suggests is that the revised exam is being used as yet another assessment exam that shapes rather than reflects what kids learn in school. It’s a classic case of the tail wagging the dog."

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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