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Through our very own editors and guest writers, this blog will discuss the INSIDE scoop on the admissions process of various schools and programs. If you wish to ask a specific question, please write to us, and we will make every attempt to address your questions in our future blog discussions.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
SAT Backlash
A few weeks back, I wrote about the not insignificant changes on tap for the Scholastic Aptitude Test. The proposed changes are designed to make the test more accessible to a larger number of students. Ideally, the new format means the test will offer a more accurate reflection of the aptitude it is designed to measure.

Many people-myself included-welcomed the changes. Statistically speaking, the best performers on the SAT are in the high income bracket, meaning the test is as much an indicator of wealth as ability. The test is also daunting. It is widely accepted that high school grades are the best indices for future academic performance.

Unlike college courses, the SAT isn't famous for encouraging critical thinking. The best performers are those who learn how to game the test itself. It isn't about substance so much as process---can you be smarter than the test?

But despite the SAT's failings, many are deeply disappointed with the changes. The biggest cry of protest? From those who feel this is an exercise in dumbing-down. The SAT isn't meant to be easy. College admissions are deeply competitive. There has to be a successful way of weeding out the top students from the rest.

These critics acknowledge the short-sighted benefit of things like the arcane vocabulary testing. On the other hand, they note that components like the essay section are vitally important. This essay may be the college's only opportunity to see how a candidate can actually write, off the cuff, without the benefits of editing, proofreading and polishing that are now common with the formal admission essay.

Which brings us back to leveling the playing field. Do you do it by raising up the bottom half, or lowering the top half? It isn't an easy question to answer.

The changes are due to be implemented in Spring of 2016.


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