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. This worries you a little bit right? 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 make it harder for students who struggling with reading comprehension or story problems.
I feel that by making the SAT more reading-heavy, more students will be at a disadvantage. Before the SAT was changed, math problems were simpler to understand. According to the author o
f this article, Anemona Hartocollis, the math problems take shape of a narrative. That means reading the problem will take time from solving it. Students may get less problems finished with the format being this way.
By making the math section as a narrative, students who were good at the math portion and the ones who are not will be at a disadvantage. On the math side of this, narratives do not belong in math. A story problem is one thing, but a math problem should not be longer than that. On the side of the students who do not do well on the math portion, this could confuse them even more resulting in a lower score. By making the SAT more reading-heavy it 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, extended family, this affects you as well. Chances are you know someone who is trying to get into a college. By applying more reading based questions, this could result in lower scores. Say you have a daughter or niece and they study 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, what would you be feeling? There will be more like her that will not get into college. The acceptance rate of colleges will go down because of this test.
What is being done about this?
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 gets you to use different areas of thinking besides just two. With more students taking the ACT, more colleges are accepting those scores over the SAT. I feel that this is fair because it gives students another option.
What could be done about the SAT?
I am not a fan of test determining how smart someone is. I feel as though we should get rid of both the SAT and ACT all together. This way college can get to know the student personally and 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 measures word knowledge to mechanical comprehension. This could even potentially help to decide on a major in college or even 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 geared towards a branch of 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, but 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 feel like the SAT does not give someone the ability to judge someone academically. I am a good student but I have really bad testing anxiety. This makes me score low on tests but get good grades in my classes. That is just one example of why I feel the SAT needs to either be reformatted or done with completely.