Changing the SAT

The College Board announced last week that it is changing the Scholastic Aptitude Test to make it more “accessible” for students.

The president of the College Board told a news conference that he views the changes as “a breath of relief” because students will no longer have to learn “fancy new skills” to do well on the SAT.

Apparently, those “fancy new skills” students won’t need on the college entrance test include putting a sentence together and figuring out the meaning of a word by finding its root. CBS reported that the essay portion of the new SAT will no longer be mandatory and that “obscure” vocabulary words will be replaced by more “relevant” ones.

The whole test will now be multiple choice, and the SAT has one more bonus for future exam takers – there will no longer be penalties for wrong answers. So, guess away!

As Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post wrote, the College Board apparently feels “When the going gets tough, why not just make the going easier?”

The SAT is designed to measure basic reading, writing and math skills to see if a student is ready for college. The whole array of changes in the new SAT will be announced on April 16.

There is an underlying feeling that the College Board is making the exam easier because test scores continue to decline, and they have been losing market share to rival American College Testing (ACT).

It would be a shame if a respected organization like the College Board has reached the conclusion that the only solution to declining scores is to make the tests easier.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.