Why do we sit for the SAT?

Why do we sit for the SAT?

The SAT is a standardized test that is intended to assess a student’s readiness for college. But some question how this test can prove a student’s intelligence or readiness. Some argue that every person has different strengths and the SAT can’t possibly test that. The person who scores well on an SAT will not necessarily be the best doctor or the best lawyer or the best businessman. These tests do not measure character, leadership, creativity or perseverance, insist the test’s critics.

The SAT was first introduced in 1926, and its name and scoring have changed several times. The current SAT Reasoning Test, introduced in 2005, takes 3 hours and 45 minutes to finish, and costs $51. Many poorer students can only afford to take the test once or twice, making some test critics question whether the test unfairly preferences the wealthy. Wealthier students can afford to take the test many times with the help of tutors and test councilors who guide them in test taking strategies and tricks. This test taking training can make it easier for them to score higher on the test. The coach-ability of the test may in fact be a major flaw in the test’s design and accuracy. Some students feel the test itself is more of a test of endurance than anything else.

Jimmy Kuebler, junior, said, “The test is way too long! My brain is fried by the time I get to the end, and I begin to lose focus. It doesn’t help the fact that I use nothing from my school curriculum either.”

Possible scores on the SAT range from 600 to 2400, combining test results from three 800-point sections – Mathematics, Critical Reading, and Writing. However, the SAT does not mirror high school curriculum. Some SAT experts assert that the SAT does not measure raw math or verbal abilities and that the SAT is primarily only a measure of how well one takes the SAT.

Lisa Hoffman, junior said, “I have straight A’s, but still can’t seem to master the SAT. It seems confusing how I can do so well in school, but feel completely oblivious when it comes to the SAT. The test has nothing to do with anything I’ve learned all year.”

The College Board has taken up some of these problems and is planning to redesign the SAT, although the process is not expected to be speedy and the precise nature of the changes has not been determined.

In a letter sent to College Board members, David Coleman, the board’s new president, said: “We will develop an assessment that mirrors the work that students will do in college so that they will practice the work they need to do to complete college. An improved SAT will strongly focus on the core knowledge and skills that evidence shows are most important to prepare students for the rigors of college and career.”

The SAT is expected to be redesigned by 2016. The freshman class is lucky, but students beyond grade 9 will need to push through.

The best advice for anyone: Don’t freak out on the test! Just do your best. The world will not end if you do poorly. There still is a college for you.

Like when you fall off a bike, you get back up and try again.