Magazine article Academe

Major Revisions to SAT Planned

Magazine article Academe

Major Revisions to SAT Planned

Article excerpt

In late June, the College Board announced plans to revamp the SAT exam, the nation's most widely used college admissions test. The first administration of the new version will occur in March 2005.

The SAT has two parts. The SAT I tests reasoning and thinking skills, and the SAT II measures how much students know about a particular academic subject, such as chemistry or American history. The revisions, which will affect only the SAT I, include a new writing test that will require students to draft an essay and answer multiple-choice grammar and copyediting questions. Other changes will replace analysis of analogies with more interpretation of reading passages and expand the math test to add topics from Algebra II and eliminate quantitative comparisons. In addition, the top score will increase from the current 1,600 to 2,400.

The SAT has come under criticism in recent years for different reasons. Some critics have charged that the exam is biased against black and Hispanic students and women from certain ethnic groups who consistently score lower on it than their white or male counterparts. Others worry that students who can afford expensive test-preparation courses have an edge over their peers from lessadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds. In February 2001 Richard Atkinson, president of the University of California, proposed dropping the SAT I as an admissions requirement in favor of a test that would better assess what students accomplish in high school. …

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