Thinking ahead: The New SAT

The new SAT with a “writing” sample is a rotten sham, one that should be resisted by high schools and colleges alike. I have made the case about this many times in other forums, so all I’ll say here is that I want to challenge colleges and the College Board to do the following while the new test is still discombobulating everyone and before it ruins the teaching of writing even more than it already has been:

1. CB, offer the new test free for the first year and at a reduced price for the next two. You don’t really know how it’s going to turn out so it’s only fair

2. Colleges, instead of dithering about whether you’ll accept it or not, take two or three years to study it. While you’re doing that go ahead and require it but DON’T USE IT. See what the correlations are in your particular institution, not from the College Board.

3. Someone recruit a team of eager grad students to study the new test, maybe some people who have not been hired or paid by the College Board, so we can get some independent views of the test. The CB says it’s wonderful–well DUH! They have hundreds of millions of dollars riding on it.

4. Include in the study some way to assess the impact the new test has on the teaching of writing in high schools, the attitudes of parents of high school students, and the attitudes of students themselves.

Perhaps such studies, independent of the College Board, have been done. If so, I don’t know about them. I’d be happy to hear about any.

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About Will Dix

I am currently writing a book about college admission. I'm interested in the intersection of the college process and American culture. I attended Amherst College in the 1970s, taught high school English and theater at The Hill School in the '80s, returned to Amherst in the '90s as an admission dean, and began the '00s as a college counselor at the University of Chicago Laboratory School. I then joined Chicago Scholars as Program Director. Currently, I blog about college admission for Forbes.com. I also help community organizations serving low income students understand the college admission process so more students can consider gaining access to higher education. I have a few private college counseling clients that I take by referral only. The views expressed in this blog are mine alone.
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