Changes to the SAT?

The MSU Spokesman

The new Scholastic Assessment Test is set to be released in the year of 2016. The SAT will impact the high school classes of 2016-2021 which will become the college classes of 2020-2025. The required SAT score students need for college admission will be returning to 1600.

The “1600” score is the premier change of the new SAT test which has not been modified since around 2004-2005. More questions on the test will be related to historical documents that correspond with those being read in students classes, algebra will be greater assessed on the test and calculators will only be allowed to be used on some questions in the math section.

There will be a new optional essay section for students. If students were to answer incorrectly, there will be no penalty. The test will also be available on the computer as another option besides taking the traditional written test as a way to accommodate the student.

High school freshmen will now be allowed to take the SAT. This new SAT will be the first update since 2005 according to the United States CollegeBoard.

The 1600 score scale will be the first time since 2004 that this amount will be used as the maximum for the test.

Collegeboard will provide free test prep as well as four college application waivers for students trying to get into college with little income. Collegeboard is improving on its access to students which will eventually result in improved SAT scores.

When asked about the new SAT, Troy Quinn, Associate Director of MSU Admission said, “These test changes will have the greatest impact on African American as statistics have shown that the test in some cases is not always fair to our students in terms of them taking the test. The math and verbal sections are the most important primary sections of the test.”

Quinn continues, “The best predictor of success is the capability of cumulative high school performance because it shows the true capability of a student over the years as opposed to a standardized test. More importantly, a student’s GPA over one test is the best snapshot of a student’s potential in terms of succeeding in college besides getting into college. High school is a very important part of a student’s academic development.”

When asked about the new SAT, Connie McDonald, Director of Upward Bound High School/College Prep Program said “I am not a big fan of the SAT and it is not a true test of what a student knows in terms of their abilities. More importantly the test doesn’t test the heart of students. I worked with a student who did not do well on the SAT in the past who then ended up as a student at a community college due to his low SAT scores but is now a successful transfer student at Morgan State University.”

McDonald continues, “In terms of high school students, sometimes students become discouraged by the test because their results limit which schools they are accepted to after they have applied. Some students have to take the test multiple times: I once had to take the test multiple times myself to during my high school years. The SAT is only part of the picture…a real small part. Grades will show the ability and are more important than the SAT in determining whether you will get into the college of your choice.”

When asked about the new SAT, Maurice Taylor, MSU Vice President of Academic Outreach and Engagement, said “The changes to the SAT are like how changes were made to the GRE (graduate school entrance test) in the past. Both test had similar types of changes impacting the essay and vocabulary sections. The Praxis, senior comprehensive exams and more tests should prevent a student from graduating. Any test will generate losers and winners, those who pass and those who fail. In that test preparation and test taking are all linked to various social factors regarding American students such as family income, urban vs. suburban school districts, AP exams, test preparation, and overall quality of high school and college education…until no amount of revisions to the SAT or the GRE will compensate for the structural inequality in America. The SAT and the GRE should continue to periodically revise their respective tests as the demographics of the country change. But the outrage so often directed at these tests would go further in making the tests fairer if it were directed at eliminating educational inequality in America’s schools, colleges and universities.”

At Morgan State University, the SAT is something that will constantly be discussed in terms of how many changes to the test both physically and academically are necessary to make sure students receive a score of 1600. With the changes previously described, one can say that the test will never cease being a tool for college entry.

What do you think?