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December 28th, 2009
06:00 AM ET

Educating America: Scrap the SAT?

Critics of the SAT say it penalizes minorities because the test itself is stacked against lower income children, who are unable to pay for test preparation programs.
Critics of the SAT say it penalizes minorities because the test itself is stacked against lower income children, who are unable to pay for test preparation programs.

By Carol Costello and Bob Ruff

What on Earth would motivate six teenagers to spend their summer vacation locked in a tiny, nondescript room with a teacher endlessly going over vocabulary words and math problems that require the use of the Pythagorean Theorem?

(A) Their parents sent them to summer school.
(B) Angst.
(C) They like studying in the summer.
(D) They’re cramming for the SAT exam.

If you answered (B) and (D), you’d be right.

For decades, taking the SAT has stood as the sine qua non for entry into the vast majority of American colleges and universities. Taking the test continues to strike fear into high school students, especially as the date of their SAT exam approaches.

Watch: Bye, Bye SATs Video

The teenagers we visited had this to say:

McKenna Baskett, St. Louis, Missouri: “I’m so nervous! ... I’m a really bad test taker and they’re really hard questions, so I just hope I can get through it.”

Pratick Parija, Jersey City, NJ: “The test is long. ... And you have to complete it and think through, so that’s what scares me a little.”

Jason Huang of New York City was philosophical: “You can’t be nervous for everything. That’s just [a] life lesson. You just got to take it, deal with it.”

McKenna, Pratick, and Jason are just a few of the many high school students taking an SAT preparation course from the Princeton Review, one of several companies offering courses throughout the nation. This one costs a little more than $600. But wealthy students, or at least their parents, are coughing up more than $7,000 for intense private tutoring so that their child can get into the just the right college.

Critics of the SAT say that all this angst is pointless. Fairtest, a nonprofit group that says it supports “fair and open testing,” believes that the SAT is biased and doesn’t do a good job of predicting college success.

What do you think? Scrap the SAT? Send us your comments.

Fairtest’s Robert Schaeffer: “The SAT is biased against women, against kids whose first language isn’t English, against older students, it’s highly susceptible to coaching, and it’s not really needed to do good college admissions, as more than 820 colleges have shown.”

He’s talking about a growing trend among colleges to stay away from the SAT as a tool in assessing applicants. This year alone eight more colleges decided to make the SAT optional. A majority of colleges still requires the SAT, but the trend is going against test.

Another critic of the SAT is Shawn Toler, principal of the KIPP School in Baltimore for inner city kids. He says that the SAT penalizes minorities because the test itself is stacked against lower income children, who are unable to pay for test preparation programs like the Princeton Review.

Laurence Bunin, senior vice president of the SAT program for the College Board says these criticisms of the SAT are pointless. He says that the test is one of several valuable tools in assessing the qualifications of students.

“I always tell parents and students to keep it in perspective,” he says. “The SAT is only one thing they look at. They’re looking at your grades. They look at what else you do: sports, athletics, art. They look at recommendations from teachers.”

Britt Reynolds, the University of Maryland’s director of admissions, gets 28,000 applications a year. He says that the SAT is no more important than any other factor, but that it does give “a little bit of consistency from student to student.”

Schaeffer says that most colleges don’t really believe the SAT is useful in predicting college success, but that admissions departments are so overwhelmed with applications that they’re forced to rely on the standardized tests to manage the volume. Students with low scores and high scores go into separate piles – and that frees up scarce admissions resources to focus on the qualifications of those who score in the middle.

You might think the man who runs the Princeton Review’s SAT preparation courses would extol the virtues of the test. But you’d be wrong.

CNN's Carol Costello asked Ed Carroll, executive director of Princeton’s high school program development, if the SAT shows how smart you are. “The only thing that the SAT is really good at is predicting how well you do on the SAT,” said Carroll. “We don’t pretend that we’re teaching you life skills or improving your academic work. We’re helping you take the SAT.”

Originally posted August 31, 2009.


Filed under: Educating America • Education
soundoff (146 Responses)
  1. Jose Candia

    I'm a senior in high school and have a 3.8 unweighted GPA and I have always taken challenging courses, including 4 International Baccalaureate courses this year. When I first took the SAT, I was expecting to get a high score. But when I got my scores, I was crushed. Since the SAT claims to test what you have learned in high school, it made me ask myself, "What have I been doing during all these years...?" This proves that SAT is not an appropriate way to predict 'college success' or to gauge how 'smart' you are. All the test does is stress kids out, make them miserable, and fooling them into believing that they are failures. I know a lot of top students on their way to getting IB Diplomas and what-not, but they STILL score poorly on the SAT. However, I do like the Subject tests: I scored 720 in the Biology E, and 740 i the French w/listening.

    A solution I see to the standardized-testing dilemma is to scrap the SAT and ACT while making all students take 2-3 subject tests. Hey, the SAT subject tests don't only test knowledge, but reasoning and logic as well.

    January 17, 2010 at 11:51 am |
  2. Ann

    Standardized tests like the ACT and SAT are necessary whether we like it or not. It is the only fair measurement because a 3.8 GPA in one school is not equal to a 3.8 GPA in another. When a student has a 3.8 GPA and scores a 15 on the ACT either he/she does not test well or he/she is a victim of grade inflation. I am for keeping the ACT and SAT. However, I am adamantly opposed to excessive testing which is what has happened in the U.S. Because of NCLB, our children are not being taught higher order thinking skills. Instead, they are taught what will be on the high stakes test at the end of the year. Most of them sit in classrooms, do worksheets, and bubble in answers. They are not taught to be creative thinkers. Therefore, when it is time to take the SAT or ACT which tests higher level thinking, they are not prepared. If you want to get rid of something, trash NCLB and the whole U.S. education system and start over. Also, parents should be more actively involved in what is happening in the classroom. Most of them believe that if their child has no problems at school or he/she likes the teacher, all is well. This is not always true. We are raising generations of children who know a little about a lot and a lot about nothing. Wake up, people!

    January 5, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  3. Joseph

    The SATs are a waste of time. I don't believe that these standardized tests can measure a student's intelligent or ability to succeed in college. I come from a low-income neighborhood and getting the perfect 2400 is not that easy. These tests are geared towards students from more affluent parts of the country. Hence, I don't see why I can't be admitted to a college because of a certain score.
    PS: I am also not a big fan of the ACT, although, I do like the Advanced Placement Program.

    December 28, 2009 at 7:46 pm |
  4. Laurie Levasseur

    We have a daughter with a 3.31 GPA ( we know not the greatest but we are not lying about her abilities either), she was homeschooled. One of the top track athletes in our state, awards all over the place for that, both because of her ability and because she is an example of a hardworking humble athlete. Co-captain of her HS track team. Volunteers at ranch for children with disabilites. Sings at nursing homes. A self taught artist, we never had the money for art lessons. She recently took two classes at a local college, and got A's in both. Her SAT was not good, at all. She is a "thinker" she likes to "reason" things out. Her friends come to her with their troubles because she likes to listen and help them. Despite all of her good points, college is on hold because of her SAT....... we have six kids and cannot afford to send her to private tutoring. We are white, by the way, and before my husband lost his job would be considered middle class. The SAT does not just affect inner city kids, it affects anyone who is just not that great at tests.

    December 28, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  5. Sheila W

    The tests to get into college where created to determine success of the student in learning in the college format. The test is designed to determine if the student's learning style is one that can learn and adapt to the way college learning and high school learning is performed. A student in a 300 person classroom needs a different learning style than one in a classroom of 25. Does not measure IQ.

    The reason that the SAT scores for students in lower economic areas can be related to many things. However learning styles are developed through how children are helped with homework by their parents and through how they have adapted in life to learn.
    Parents that have gone to college tend to share their learning style with their kids, which helps to develop that learning style adaptation in their kids. If a person is not prone to the particular learning style, and is not trained to that adaptation, they are going to have difficulty with the SAT and will need to learn adaptations while in college to succeed. The student's motivation of success will determine if they are able to create learning modifications while in college.
    Students in high school are taught more to their learning style because the classes are smaller and the pressures of making sure the students receive the information in a way that they can learn. It is not wrong if the students are taught their style and how to adapt to different ways information is shared.

    December 28, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  6. Alexa Bleach

    I think that SATs should gone. they are bias and i dont think those scores should count. because some people could not be test takers but are smart, and still get good grades like me. i dont think that it's fair that people have to be based off those tests

    December 28, 2009 at 9:15 am |
  7. Andi

    I would be glad to see the SAT bite the dust.Using such a outdated test to determine what and how much individuals may have retained in their studies unfortunately eliminates those who may have issues with taking tests and those who may be a bit slower,yet be just as intelliegent.I believe coming up with basic yet new concepts to help reflect what has been learned over years of schooling and determine what possible ways best fits an individuals ability to learn even more a greater advantage for all students.It would even help determine what career paths may be best fit and i think should become the norm,as it would fairly mirror the educational intelligence levels of all, not just those who could pass the SAT.

    December 28, 2009 at 9:14 am |
  8. Paul

    Ed Carroll owes all his student/customers a refund and an apology! This joker may have the Pythagorean memorized, but it helps if you know what it means geometrically. The "5" he jotted on the diagram of the triangle was on the wrong line; he should have wrote in on the hypotenuse of the triangle. For Ed, this is the long line opposite the 90 degree angle formed by the lines of 3 and 4 units in length.

    December 28, 2009 at 9:08 am |
  9. jean sessoms

    No the SAT should not go away. We need to insist that our children
    work harder. We have dumbed down our children enough already.

    If anything a voucher program should be re-established and
    volunteers encouraged. Parents need to be more involved
    in guilding their children. Parents should monitor the class room.

    TEACHERS need to be tested and yes maybe they should
    take the SAT.

    Our teachers have been dumbed down. Also America

    December 28, 2009 at 9:06 am |
  10. Ginger

    As the operator of a private school, I have watched children who "cheat" on exams think they actually get ahead. Studying to pass one exam does not give the skills needed to learn what will be taught in that school to which you are working to gain entrance.
    If you do not master the material in (up to grade 12) school, it will not take long for the colleges or universities to find out that you really have not been taught how to learn.
    Teach students the arts of goalsetting, and the skill to set themselves a pace for their learning. These two learned skills, along with a good dose of personalized encouragement, gives students the confidence to take on new material with a winning attitude. Teaching is not to exalt memory, it is to gain understanding so that when any challenge comes up, it can be reasoned through, and mastered.
    On the other side, I have learned that if you encourage your students to learn the material, and set the bar high enough to expect them to succeed, and then challenge their understanding, not memorization, of a subject, they will both pass an SAT-type test, but also have the skill to learn when they are accepted to that school of higher education, and in their entire working life.

    December 28, 2009 at 9:03 am |
  11. Steven

    At the age of 50 I decided to go to graduate school to get an MBA. As a result, I had to take the GMAT in order to qualify for acceptance into the MBA program. Taking the GMAT was just as stressful at 50 as taking the SAT when I was a kid in high school. While both tests have come under fire during the past few years, I do think that they are immensely valuable but not in the way most people view them.

    I believe that both tests serve as predictors of performance: the SAT for undergraduate and the GMAT for graduate studies. In my case, mathematics has always been a struggle and, as predicted by the testing, was (and is) an area that I needed to strengthen. Since most colleges and universities require essays and references in addition to test scores for admission, the test results should be viewed by students, parents and schools as a tool for mentoring and guidance.

    In my day, my SAT results were never correlated to my course choices or used to guide my studies. My guess is that this situation still exists for most high school students. However, the GMAT was extremely useful in helping me choose courses to shore-up those areas where I needed help. There is no reason that the SAT cannot be used in the same fashion to better help students make their educational choices; choices that affect a lifetime.

    December 28, 2009 at 9:00 am |
  12. Matt

    No, No, No, don’t get rid of the SAT. The Sat is about 97% efficient in predicting college academic success, it is a highly correlated predictor. The move to eliminate the SAT is another step to dumb down our society. Our children need to be educated so they have perform satisfactorily on the SAT, and any other type of generalized test of knowledge.

    December 28, 2009 at 8:55 am |
  13. Khan

    If someone makes more than $200000/per year,that ought be due to better intelligence and good combination of genetic make up. If their kids do well on SATS,it is not only due to the fact that those kids had more resources available but they come from better gene pool. Please stop making stories if you have nothing else to talk about.Kids who do well on SATS they have also proven otherwise that they are more eager to achieve their goal than anybody else.

    December 28, 2009 at 8:52 am |
  14. Carol

    Poverty is no excuse for ignorance. American education is poor because the teachers in public school classrooms are poorly educated and indifferent. After twelve years of education if students can't indicate a moderate amount of learning on an SAT test they shouldn't waste time and money lounging in college classrooms. We've excused indifferent students and teachers for far too long.

    December 28, 2009 at 8:49 am |
  15. Linda Walters

    It is time to do away with standardized testing. We judge a teacher's performance in the classroom based on one high stakes test and teaching is much boarder than one test. We have also because of accountability measures due to NCLB, caused education to give instruction based on the standards covered by the standardized test. We are turning out students unprepared for the real-world due to these tests. It is time we teach children: how to read, write, do math, understand and problem solve, as well as the use of technology.
    In my opinion it is time we allow schools/educators to do their jobs. School Boards to have the authority to have the highest quality educators, and only allow the best programs without having to fright all the red tape that goes with getting a child a quality education.

    December 28, 2009 at 8:49 am |
  16. Khan

    If someone makes more than $200000/per year,that ought be due to better intelligence and good combination of genetic make up. If their kids do well on SATS,it is not only due to the fact that those kids had more resources available but they come from better gene pool. Please stop making stories if you have nothing else to talk about

    December 28, 2009 at 8:47 am |
  17. Shane

    When I took the SAT I didn't study or take any special classes. I managed to get a 1500 by just winging it. Later I discovered that many of the other students were taking the tests, learning what was hard on the test, studying what they missed, and then paying to take the test again.

    How is it fair that students with money can repeat the tests and send their highest score in without a trace that their perfect score took 20 attempts? This just tests if your smart enough to exploit an outdated testing system and have the money to do so. It definitely needs to be removed or heavily modified. Taking the test multiple times should be on the "record" sent to colleges as should taking special classes or tutoring.

    December 28, 2009 at 8:46 am |
  18. Rbt

    The SATs are a way to compare students across a large swathe of America and other areas of the world. Most of the comments here are against the SAT because:
    1) It is hard – boo hoo
    2) It is unfair – welcome to life
    3) It is a business – See 2) above

    How much more are we going to water down the system so that everyone thinks it is fair. You start tinkering with the college entry system to make everyone happy and you'll get what comes out of Congress – a congealed goo full of pork barrel and half measures that does not really allow a comparison of students across many different cultures etc. Competition is the American way to get success... yes there will be people that fail or are not good at it. Isnt that true of everything? I am all for using many other measures to determine intelligence etc, but removing one just because some people are not good test takers is short sighted and against american values of study and hard work. Not good at it? Work at it. Still not good at it? That does not mean it is worthless. That just means you do not measure up in this area. what do people think college is full of?
    a) Planning
    b) Studying
    c) Test Taking
    d) All of the above

    If you did not answer d) then you are woefully misinformed.

    December 28, 2009 at 8:45 am |
  19. enny owoyele

    As a student who is now going through the entire college application process, I feel like the SAT truly hindered my attempts at getting into certain schools because the exam alone weighs a great amount in admission. I have become aware that New York City students are really taught about the SAT until they are sophmores in high school. I know that, me being the first born, and the first to transition from high school to college in my family the SAT was just a word of mouth and back then did not hold any importance to me. Now that my future really seems to depend on it, it has become an eye opener because reality begins to kick in. The exam tests your ability to take tests, and because I am a poor test taker it is reflected in my exam results, but on the other hand I am currently holding a 94 cumulative GPA. The two simply don't match. For future generations there should be no standardized tests because it simply becomes a scare and many people begin to doubt themselves. I have personally seen people vow not to take this exam and don't persue an education after high school. The SAT is just a scare and should be taken away.

    December 28, 2009 at 8:44 am |
  20. Anonymous

    The SAT has two useful purposes for college selection.

    First, it has a significant, positive correlation with the student's ability to pay tuition. Colleges are businesses and need to have a high percentage of clients who are able to pay their bills like any other business. The SAT is a very good predictor for this purpose. It should be clear from the correlation between family income and scores that this is the case.

    Second, the SAT is an obstacle to be overcome in the process of getting to college. Whatever excuses one may want to make, it does indicate one's determination and ability to understand and assess an obstacle and then to determine and execute an appropriate plan of action to overcome that obstacle. It is quite useful to measure these abilities.

    December 28, 2009 at 8:44 am |
  21. Sam

    SAT should not be scrapped. For sure, it canot test everything but it tests if a person can endure that much pressure, if he/she can concentrate long preperation time to be ready for final test. There might be disparity of scores between low and and high income kids but the bigger difference I think is how persistent the parents are with their kids in pursuing for test. I live in Laramie, Wyoming where majority people dont have a great salary. But in recent years I have seen few kids making it to big schools based on their SAT and overall achievements not because their parents were rich but because their parents persisted with them on keep on working on the test and kids also concentrated on their studies.

    Sam

    December 28, 2009 at 8:42 am |
  22. maureen myers

    My son is number 2 in his class always taken honors classes, amazing at math.In AP calculus this senior year. Took the SAT 3 times and received about the same score all 3 times. He got 580, 600, 650 scores on the math portion. He always gotten 100% in his math classes so if they were really testing you on what you learned don't you think he would have gotten a higher score. So here hes worked so hard to be #1 or 2 in his class and most scholarships reflect more on your SAT scores. That just isn't fair. I think they should be done away with.

    December 28, 2009 at 8:41 am |
  23. Dr. Gul from Georgia

    SAT and similar exams are essential to palce students in a program at a university. Though such exams are not 100% accurate in measuring the aptitude of the student, still it does give some idea. If not, how would universities accept and enroll students. There should be a criteria to help determine who to let in and who not. GRE analytical section is good but the verbal section needs modification. The vocabulary list GRE takers have to memorize comprise of words very few would know, The section tests rote learning. Since the words are not given within a context, those who memorized those word cards better score higher points in Verbal. I would again repeat myself by saying, yes SAT, GRE like exams are needed to assess students' eligibility to programs they would like to attend.

    December 28, 2009 at 8:39 am |
  24. Kevin

    Unfortunately, the SAT measures nothing. After taking the SAT twice, the highest score I obtained was a 1270, but as a senior in college now, I have a 4.0 GPA. That SAT score predicts "B" level college work, but as the segment stated, the SAT only shows what one can achieve on the SAT. Other exams, such as AP exams, also offered through Collegeboard, test whether a student learned the material for a specific subject. These tests actually test students ability to learn and educational quality!

    December 28, 2009 at 8:33 am |
  25. Mark J.

    Scrap the SATs! I am a scientist by education and trade, and in this field you are taught not to assume something unless it is proven or defined. There are many math questions (as well as science based) that expect you to assume values. How can this measure a mathematicians intelligence or what they have learned if you are expecting them to go against what they are supposed to do?

    December 28, 2009 at 8:33 am |
  26. Jess

    Not so sure the SAT should be scrapped. Maybe they should get better tutors. I was shocked and embarrassed when using the Pythagorean Theorem example, the tutor said they always use the 3,4,5 example, and then put the 5 in the wrong place. Someone should've proofed this.

    December 28, 2009 at 8:32 am |
  27. Paul

    Funny that this story came on when it did. I was watching CNN and paying the College Board to ($85 to send) to send the scores from all of my tests (Many of which were around $85 to take). Rip off?

    December 28, 2009 at 8:31 am |
  28. Johnll

    Doing away with the SAT's is like shooting ourselves in the foot, I believe that this is a cop- out to dealing with some of the real problems of today's Youth. they are just to spoiled and whiny for whatever they want, instead of what they need. and in my opinion this would be a way of letting them know you care for them as opposed to spanking(since that can not be done anymore). do away with SAT's and America get's dumber...

    December 28, 2009 at 8:18 am |
  29. KO

    I believe the SAT test should be elliminated. My son, has had basically straight "A"s since 1st grade. He has taken
     (9) AP classes in high school (passed the state exam to receive 27 college credits), currently has a 4.65 weighted GPA, plays a Varsity sport every semester, has been involved in SGA since 9th grade, volunteers to help under priviledged kids ( summer/ winter), is captain & president of clubs, works 15 hrs a week, and the list goes on. However, since he only got a 1950 (currently waiting for his 3rd retake score), has been denied acceptance to schools like Cornell University, etc. Here is a kid that exemplifies a love for learning and will propably end up at a school that he is overqualified to attend. I say get rid of the test!!!  

    December 28, 2009 at 8:03 am |
  30. SAH

    I think that SATs show that you are good at taking tests. I don't think it is a measure of your intelligence at all. I think the SATs are antequated and should not be used. It puts undue pressure on high school students and is not a true measure of their abilities.

    December 28, 2009 at 7:47 am |
  31. Raquel

    I'm not certain if the SAT should be scrapped, but I do firmly believe that test prep should be made available to all students at their high schools regardless of income, race, sex, etc. I graduated from HS in 1986 and took the test in 1985. My parents were comfortable financially, but weren't aware of the importance of me taking a SAT test prep course. Further, no one, not even my HS guidance counselor, bothered to suggest that I take a course much less inform me that such a course existed - so of course, I didn't take one. I know that my SAT test scores didn't accurately measure what I knew or what I was capable of learning. I was an "A" student in HS with a class rank of 8 out of over 600 students. I graduated from college magna cum laude. However, my SAT score was only 715 (of 1600 at that time). I'm thankful that colleges looks past my score and gave me an opportunity.

    December 28, 2009 at 7:46 am |
  32. Carla

    I feel the SAT's should be done away with. How many of us go to college snd never touch a number of questions that are seen on the SAT's?? We are still behind as a country in education –Why keep doing the same thing when clearly for most it's not working? The definition of insanity....Doing the same thing expecting different results INSANE. I am a preschool teacher; our children are not there scores!!!! This behavior is bias as we already know. It does seem that it does not help asny child of any color unless the child's parent's have money...then at the same time it seems a way to keep a certain socio-economic status of any color out of the better schools. Last but not least we as a country speak for ourselves and it does not look good. It's scary to think that if we keep going other countries are going to rise above us if we don't stop trying to keep others down.

    December 28, 2009 at 7:45 am |
  33. Chris Wimberley

    Beyond the inequalities seen in the correlation with income and test results, the SAT may only be testing a certain kind of student.

    Different people learn differently. The fact that there's a PSAT to prepare students to take the SAT doesn't help the argument that this actually tests aptitude or how much people have learned in school. You have to take a test to take another test in aptitude?

    On top of that, the SAT is one of the longest tests lasting several hours. Does the score take into account the variable nature of a student's long term concentration or exhaustion?

    This test has been one of the most limiting factors in many people's futures, confidence and opportunities and it's clear it's been too important to Universities for too long, even it if it is one variable for admissions.

    December 28, 2009 at 7:41 am |
  34. don gregory

    The gentleman from the College Board hit the nail on the head. The problem isn't the SAT, it's the inequities in our educational system.
    Sending students to college who are not prepared either sets them up for failure or contributes to the dumbing down of America. Don't shoot the messenger just because you don't like the message.

    December 28, 2009 at 7:41 am |
  35. Marlon Smith

    I think the SAT should be thrown in the trash and burned. I remember taking the test in 1989 as i prepared to graduate. I realized as a student in high school the test was unfair when i saw Calculus on it. As a magnet student I was required to take Calculus to graduate through the program, however, high school students overall were not required to take calculus...I thought then that was unfair to add a subject on the test that all students do not have the opportunity to study. I therefore ignored every question that had calculus and statistics on it. I made an 880 because of that. I currently hold a Masters Degree and completing a PhD. So someone tell me, what did the test say?

    December 28, 2009 at 7:35 am |
  36. BigD Snow Bound MN

    Ephraim- Canada is a Wonder Place that I Love + Have Much Family, Living There where I Try to Visit or Have On My Mind Daily! I guess Living So Close to the United States it's Really No Wonder that You Would Pick-Up + Expound on An American Attitude that the Rest of the World Hates. Hopefully much has Happened in Your Life + Attitude Since Aug 31st, when First Aired.

    To Me I thought "SAT" was + Meant a Form of "Satellite Television?" hee-hee!

    December 28, 2009 at 7:32 am |
  37. Daniel

    I have no idea what everyone is complaining about. I went to a public school, was attentive in class, and achieved 1350 out of 1600 without study. It's a measure of how much effort you put into class because it's a summary of what you learned.

    December 28, 2009 at 7:31 am |
  38. Charlie (MA)

    The SAT is a well known high stakes test. When you consider the fact that their are no established educational teaching standards and that local shool systems are primarily funded by local taxes I wonder why we have to ask ourselves if the test should be scrapped. Of course it should. The test is geared toward upwardly mobile middle class students who attend the best schools offering the richest curriculum in the country.

    Just as their is a handicap system for recreational sports their should be a sliding scale adjustment for students who come from less fortunate school systems, communities and life circumstances. Since this is not practical the only solution is to scrap the test and the mentality used to justify it.

    September 14, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  39. Tom Denny

    These comments are hilarious, especially when emphasis is used via CAPS. What is not based on common sense?

    A. SAT
    B. ACT
    C. ARMs

    If you answered C, adjustable rate mortgages, you are correct.

    September 14, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  40. MoronMesia

    Ya the SAT's are biased against stupid people.

    I think more stupid people should be promoted through the college system as that insures job security for me.

    Yea! for dumb people!

    September 14, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  41. Antje Curphey

    The SAT is not really a predictor of college success but a general guide to the student’s foundations for success. It is not designed to be a predictor for college success. Also, it is only one of many pieces of information the college uses to evaluate an applicant.
    The test as it is right now is said to have flaws: It is biased against women and stacked against lower income students. It is difficult for ESL students and susceptible to coaching for outcome. It is unbalanced.
    For the SAT to be a standardized tool for colleges to evaluate the educational foundations of an applicant it should be redesigned. To be a predictor of college success it should include a section with questions addressing applicant attitudes just as major employers require. Why scrap something, when it could be improved?
    The ACT which is accepted by many colleges has a balance of sections for English, Reading, Math, and Science with sub scores for each section. It is very possible that we have neglected to point our students and college applicants to this test that provides more accurate information about the student’s knowledge and ability.
    We should also remember that both SAT and ACT are created by profitable companies and that means that they will respond to “us”, the consumer.
    We should not be concerned about the stress factor an important test creates. This is good practice for many a test that comes along in life. Students in other countries of the globe are well used to important tests throughout their school years and it is always stressful.

    September 2, 2009 at 10:41 am |
  42. Richard Jaks

    In the U.S. we give out inflated grades and sometimes administrators strong arm teachers into changing grades or even have them changed on their own. Thus, the SAT or a test like it is needed.

    September 1, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  43. Jimmy

    There are a couple of validity studies on the SAT website:

    http://professionals.collegeboard.com/data-reports-research/sat/validity-studies

    September 1, 2009 at 1:24 pm |
  44. Jeff W.

    The SATs are simply tests to see if you can take a test. They do NOT test your knowledge of the information provided but, they DO test your ability on how well you can guess. I took a P-SAT prep course in highschool back in ‘00 and the course did NOTHING other than simply help me guess at the “best” answer provided. I may not have had any idea that the correct answer even made sense, but it fit the pattern we were taught. It’s pretty sad because the kids taking the test are not learning the content of what they are being test on…..they are just learning how to pass a test. How is that going to help them in College and the real world when they are expected to thoroughly understand the topics and subjectively answer specific questions? Anyone can pick an answer from a pattern…….thinking is what separates us from those people.

    September 1, 2009 at 7:40 am |
  45. Thomas Lacy

    The SAT is a standardized test that gives universities a NONBIASED (everyone takes the same test, right?) benchmark to evaluate students. It helps counter grade inflation that might make a student at one high school seem superior to another when their higher grades simply reflect more generous grading (and don't tell me this doesn't happen). As for children of more wealthy parents doing better, perhaps it has something to do with the fact that, at least to some degree still, our capitalist society rewards intelligence and hard work with financial success. It would follow that the children of intelligent and hardworking parents might have some of those traits rub off. You don't have to be wealthy to buy an SAT prep book and put the time in to learn the test either. I personally did well on the SAT's and had only fair grades in high school. I initially did not get in to any particularly good universities despite very good SAT's but appealed and ultimately went to a middle tier University of California campus. Subsequently I was accepted to a top 20 medical school so I would say the SAT's did a better job of predicting my college performance than my high school grades did. The SAT (and ACT) is a valuable tool for admission committees to look at amongst other criteria. Not everyone can do well on these tests and that is the just the way of the world. If you think people shouldn't be pigeonholed and that "everyone is a winner" even if you don't work for it you're a socialist.

    August 31, 2009 at 9:17 pm |
  46. Sean Ruhlman

    Wow "anonymous":

    YOUR POST:
    SAT stress is nothing. If you were educated in China, you have to take this big test called the Gaokao, which is literally, the only thing that determines college acceptance in China. Chinese students literally spend every waking moment studying for the test because it’s only administered once a year and they are afraid of failing the test, otherwise they don’t go to college.

    My Comment:
    Looks like we will be getting a few more Chinese Academiciana taking the S.A.T. and visiting our campuses in the future ;-)

    August 31, 2009 at 8:28 pm |
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