Back when I took the SAT, it was during the time that they had just introduced the SAT II and were in the process of re-scoring. It was then, when they turned up the math scoring so that you could actually miss a couple problems and still make a 800. I remember clearly that it was also the time that many Ivy league schools moved their average entrance score from 1350 to 1450. It was said that the shift was made due to the standardized scores being low internationally for American students in internationally based statistics. Who knows if that was true or not.
Well, just recently I heard from a cousin that the total score has changed yet again. Apparently now it’s out of 2400 as of 2006. They took away the analogies section, changed mathematics to encompass three years of high school mathematics, and added in the SAT II Writing exam into the main one.
And all I have to say is: “Ick.”
The analogies section was stripped due to some criticism by the University of California system:
“A famous example of alleged bias in the SAT I is the oarsman-regatta analogy question. The object of the question was to find the pair of terms that have the relationship most similar to the relationship between “runner” and “marathon”. The correct answer was “oarsman” and “regatta”.”
Now, I have to say that it’s kind of ridiculous to say that it’s a social issue in knowing the definition of either regatta or an oarsman. The whole point of analogies was a stronger vocabulary, and those particular words or phrases were not in the least bit difficult.
The replacement section (writing) is also very subjective. While they are to be scored on quality of writing the amusing thing is that quality of writing is very subjective. In fact, I had papers in college that would not have passed muster with certain English professors, and would have had amazing grades with others.
The critique from a MIT writing professor came down that the longer the essay, the higher the score according to some trend results from data he was given. That is completely ridiculous.
Unfortunately, it seems that students these days have to deal more so with the human aspect of test taking beyond the scope of right, wrong, or no answer. Now it must be taken into account that someone might like or dislike your writing style to judge quality. I truly feel for today’s high school students since it seems that the college entrance exams have finally met up with politics. And that’s just a sad thought.
Photo Credit: (TheBrassPotato)