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New SAT format brings criticism, praise

Late night studying and frenzied efforts to perfect essays may now all be worth it, thanks to the new SAT format. The new setup, which is specifically designed to measure academic preparedness based on curriculum teaching is already in the process. However, SAT skeptics’ worry that using a curriculum-based test will hurt talented students who don’t have access to good teaching.

“My personal opinion is the reformed test will help students in the long run,” vice principal Jon Endicott said. “However, students will have to prepare more, write an essay and have better general knowledge. Plus, the new format will satisfy the UCs along with the advantages it already provides.”

SATs first became the primary determining factor for students’ skills and overall knowledge in 1901, when students at Columbia, Barnard and New York Universities were the first to take the SATs. Although SATs have evolved over the years, a majority of today’s students feel that the SAT is too centered on IQ and not of knowledge acquired through school.

“The major portion of the test seemed like it was very IQ based,” Sarah Damm, ’03, said. “I did recognize the math but lots of the English seemed like it was based on common sense.”

Despite students’ ardent protests, reformers and college professors want students to see that by taking tougher curriculum they can improve their test scores and hone important life skills as well.

“The new format will put a large burden on high schools,” Steve Varvis, dean of undergraduates at Fresno Pacific College, said. “High school curriculum will be watched more closely and reasoning ability and general literacy will be stressed.”

Aside from conflicting problems between reformers and students, some still see the SATs as a critical analysis factor of abilities and knowledge students should have acquired by high-school graduation.

“The SATs have the perfect balance between IQ and basic knowledge,” Michael Abajian, ’04, said. “I had some troubles with the curriculum based problems but the test challenged me and overall provided me with a good idea of how much I know.”

While debates over reform for the SATs continue, the overall determining factor on students scores will be how much time and effort they put forth in their pursuit of success.

To register or learn more information on SATs, contact Endicott in the office or The College Board at The next SAT test date is Jan. 25 and registration is due by Dec. 23 and register online. For students wanting to take the SAT in spring, they can take it on April 5 but need to register by Feb. 28. The SAT cost is $26.

Information in this article was taken from The SAT Revolution, an article written by Julian E. Barnes, posted in U.S. News and World Report, November 11, 2002.

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