Reading is very important in our society. It helps us learn, be creative, and it entertains us. However, reading can also be used to test our abilities. Imagine you are a high school student who plans on attending college. You get good grades and having been studying hard for the SAT, but you hear news that the SAT has been revamped. Wouldn’t this worry you a little bit? In this blog post I will be responding to an article from the New York Times that focus on the changes to the SAT. These changes have made the SAT more “reading-heavy,” which makes it harder for students who struggling with reading comprehension or story problems to succeed at the SAT.
I feel that by making the SAT more reading-heavy, all students will be put at a disadvantage. Before the SAT was changed, math problems were easier to understand. According to the author of this article, Anemona Hartocollis, the math problems take the form of a narrative. That means reading the problem will take time better spent solving it. Students may finish fewer problems with this format. By formatting the math section as a narrative, neither students who are good at math nor students who are good at English will be successful. Narratives do not belong in math. A story problem is one thing, but a math problem should not be longer than that. For the students who do not do well on the math portion, this could confuse them even more, resulting in a lower score. Making the SAT more reading-heavy brings about more disadvantages.
Why should you care?
A test should not define a student. I have never been a very good test taker and my scores do not reflect my ability. I had to take the SAT three times just to get a good enough score to get into college on a scholarship that was the lowest. Why are we letting tests define how a student will do in college? It should not be based on a test but on the student as a whole.
For those of you who are parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers, students, and other extended family, this affects you as well. It is likely that you know someone who is trying to get into a college. Applying more reading based questions could result in lower scores. Perhaps you have a daughter or niece who has studied really hard for the SAT. The day the scores are posted she sees her score is not high enough to get into a college. As a family member or close relative to that student, how do you feel? There will be more like her that will not get into college. The acceptance rate of colleges will go down because of this test.
The article talks about how more students are now taking the ACT over the SAT. I support this decision because the ACT has a math, english, and science portions. It allows you to engage in more than just two ways of thinking. With more students taking the ACT, more colleges are accepting those scores over the SAT.This is fair because it gives students another option.
I am not a supporter of tests determining how smart someone is. I think we should dispose of both the SAT and ACT. This way colleges can get to know the student personally, not based on a test score. However, I do believe that if there was some sort of testing needed by colleges, then we should go with a test that measures strengths and weaknesses. A test like the ASVAB would be one way to go. This test is aptitude-based, measuring everything from word knowledge to mechanical comprehension. This could even potentially help student to decide on a major in college or a branch of service.
Another thing that could be done about the SAT is to change the format. Instead of the SAT measuring just math, reading, and writing, it could measure a variety like the ASVAB, only not in the context of military service. This way it is more fair towards people who have different strengths and abilities. In the meantime, parents can encourage and support their kids when they take the SAT. Additionally, they should be informed about both the SAT and ACT.
Reading this article stirred up some anger because I do not believe it is fair to make the SAT more reading heavy. As a person who took the SAT three times to get a score that was semi-acceptable, I believe that the SAT does not give educators enough information to judge someone academically. I am a good student but I have severe testing anxiety. This makes me score low on tests but get good grades in my classes. That is just one example of why the SAT needs to either be reformatted or completely discontinued.