×

Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

College Board To Rethink the SAT, Partner With Khan Academy

Soulskill posted about 10 months ago | from the abba-cadaba dept.

Education 134

An anonymous reader writes "According to the NY Times, 'Saying its college admission exams do not focus enough on the important academic skills, the College Board announced on Wednesday a fundamental rethinking of the SAT, eliminating obligatory essays, ending the longstanding penalty for guessing wrong and cutting obscure vocabulary words. ... The SAT's rarefied vocabulary words will be replaced by words that are common in college courses, such as "empirical" and "synthesis." The math questions, now scattered widely across many topics, will focus more narrowly on linear equations, functions and proportional thinking. The use of a calculator will no longer be allowed on some of the math sections.' The College Board will also be working with Khan Academy to provide students with free, online practice problems and instructional videos. The new version of the SAT will be introduced in 2016."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

KHAAAAAAN!!!! (5, Funny)

Dan East (318230) | about 10 months ago | (#46413955)

KHAAAAAAN!!!!

Yeah yeah. I have karma to burn.

Re:KHAAAAAAN!!!! (5, Funny)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | about 10 months ago | (#46413963)

Drat, you beat me to it. ....

DAAAAANNN!!!!!

But does it have electrolytes? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46413965)

Cause thats what highschool students crave.

Glad they waited until I was done with college... (4, Insightful)

Jade_Butterfly (3564465) | about 10 months ago | (#46413993)

The current college entrance tests make it easy to game the system, even for someone like me, who had an ultra low high school GPA. They test knowledge that is easy to learn during a few last minute cramming sessions. These changes might actually make them fair tests.

Re:Glad they waited until I was done with college. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46414161)

Nah. My high standardized test scores got me into pretty much any college I wanted two decades ago, despite not really attending much of high school.

Re:Glad they waited until I was done with college. (2)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 10 months ago | (#46414565)

I don't know what "fair" means, but I really don't see where they're improving these tests so that they test for something other than rote memorization.

Rote? (1)

Dumy Ssone (3565199) | about 9 months ago | (#46416697)

"Rote" memorization? Care to expound? How are the exam's existing compositional components samplings of rote memorization? How is the reading comprehension so? Beyond knowing formulas, how are the computational components of the SAT tests of rote memorization? What is it of a high school student that you want tested, exactly? U.S. students who score highly on "IQ" tests also perform highly on the SAT (http://www.sq.4mg.com/IQ-SAT.htm). It is not only an examination of what one knows, but more significantly, how efficiently one COMES to know, as well as their ability to understand and express/communicate what it is that they have come to know. It certainly measures how quickly all of this can be done, given that it is a time-limited exam together with punishing incorrect answers (guesses).

Re:Rote? (1)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 9 months ago | (#46417109)

How are the exam's existing compositional components samplings of rote memorization?

Really, it's just following rules you memorized and writing how they want you to write.

Beyond knowing formulas, how are the computational components of the SAT tests of rote memorization?

That's just an example of applying the procedures they memorized.

What is it of a high school student that you want tested, exactly?

Whether or not they have a deep, intuitive understanding of the material (how and why it works).

U.S. students who score highly on "IQ" tests also perform highly on the SAT

Which might just mean people with high IQs are good test takers, not that they're intelligent, or that the SAT is a good test.

IQ is mere pseudoscience, anyway.

It certainly measures how quickly all of this can be done, given that it is a time-limited exam together with punishing incorrect answers (guesses).

And it's still just a ridiculous multiple choice test, with a few other things (essays) thrown in. Also, math is not a game of speed or memorization, and that time limit crap is garbage.

Something tells me the people who make these tests do not comprehend what math is about. [uottawa.ca] They only care about whether or not you can compute the correct answers and follow their precious procedures, and whether or not you can do so quickly enough. I doubt they have a better view of other subjects.

Re:Glad they waited until I was done with college. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46415259)

> They test knowledge that is easy to learn during a few last minute cramming sessions.

BULL SHIT

studies have repeatedly show that those SAT prep courses have minimal gain and similarly retaking the test has minimal impact.

Re:Glad they waited until I was done with college. (4, Insightful)

chihowa (366380) | about 10 months ago | (#46415783)

I taught a couple of the GRE prep courses in college and I disagree (though not for the reasons the prep companies will likely say). The prep courses make you practice, which allows you to solve the problems more quickly and this makes a huge difference. These are timed tests.

I don't remember the SAT well (it's been forever since I took it, but I did do extremely well which helped moderate my poor high school GPA), but the GRE was based very heavily around high-school level skills that needed to be performed quickly to score well. If you hadn't solved some of these problems in years, you'd get them correct but waste time remembering the best strategy for solving them. (Trig, for instance, isn't hard but I never use it and I'm in a math-based field. It took a little while to remember how to quickly solve the problems.)

There's no need to take the prep courses to do well (I didn't), but practice pays off big and the courses encourage you to practice.

Re:Glad they waited until I was done with college. (1)

discontinuity (792010) | about 10 months ago | (#46416207)

This is an excellent comment. Would bump you up if I had mod points. The notion of practicing so that you can solve problems quickly is hugely important on these exams (any exam with a time limit).

The value of prep courses does extend beyond practicing, though. In particular, testing for things like arcane vocabulary encourages prep courses (or at least books and self prep). There also is some value in coaching and exam strategy. I suspect that this could lead to increases in people's scores (e.g., coaching students to not answer a question if they are unsure of the answer since, at least until the new format, you lose points for wrong answers).

The alliance with Khan Academy is interesting. The education system is stacked heavily in favor of those from the higher rungs of the economic ladder. Although it's not strictly about money (a free course is not useful if culture/family/teachers do not push students to take it and take it seriously), this is a nice step in the right direction.

Re:Glad they waited until I was done with college. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46416895)

1. GRE != SAT

2. How much (useful) practice can you do in a 'late-night' cram session?

3. You're wrong, suck it.

http://online.wsj.com/news/art... [wsj.com]

"It found that SAT coaching resulted in about 30 points in score improvement on the SAT, out of a possible 1600, and less than one point out of a possible 36 on the ACT, the other main college-entrance exam"

Re:Glad they waited until I was done with college. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46416097)

Maybe retaking it doesn't help, and maybe even practice tests, and prep courses don't help. However I did have a significant boost in score between my PSAT and SAT tests. That could be accounted for due to additional classes though and the introduction of new materials I hadn't yet studied when I took my PSAT test though too. Either way kids really do improve between the time they take the PSAT tests and the SAT tests. My scores were significantly better. I did have private lessons and I'm not sure much was gained from it even if my scores were much higher. By the time I had the private lessons in the afternoon (after school) my brain was fried. I can't imagine much was retained and the process of figuring anything out was near a complete failure. I bet the kids who see the best scores are those who get the best night sleep and the best foods the week prior to taking the test.

Liberal arts professors' worst nightmare (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46413997)

Not only are college students incapable of effective written communication, no one will know about it until they show up in your class the first week and turn in a paper written in nothing but accordion paragraphs.

Re:Liberal arts professors' worst nightmare (4, Insightful)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | about 10 months ago | (#46414319)

Your test is showing that too many students are unprepared for college? Well, we can solve that problem -- just change the test!

There's something fundamentally wrong with our schools when it is a rarity for a high school graduate to be capable of composing a short written essay.

Re:Liberal arts professors' worst nightmare (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46414817)

What the hell is an accordian paragraph?

When I took the SATs, my mom kicked me out of bed at 6am Saturday morning after I'd been out to 2am the night before. I had no idea I was taking the SATs at all. Scored a 1210 half asleep with zero prep. Is that good or bad?

Re:Liberal arts professors' worst nightmare (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46415037)

A paragraph that uses the 3 part structure that is overemphasized in elementary school, i.e.: opening statement, middle sentences, summary. It results a fractured flow between paragraphs, with unnecessary summary, and an overemphasis on length instead of brevity.

As for your score, the average SAT score was 1498 in 2013, take from that what you want.

Re:Liberal arts professors' worst nightmare (0)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | about 10 months ago | (#46415043)

Depends on when you took it. In the days of the 1600 max score that'd be mediocre even with no sleep. In the days of the 2400 max score it's pitiful even with no sleep.

Re:Liberal arts professors' worst nightmare (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46415091)

That was in the days of 1600 max score.
I'd do better these days even with no sleep, my written english has improved since I finished high school.

Re:Liberal arts professors' worst nightmare (1)

l0n3s0m3phr34k (2613107) | about 10 months ago | (#46415493)

almost anyone in a technical job should be able to do better now than they did in high school...I never took SAT, but I had to take the ACT 5 years later, and scored a perfect 36 on "sociology" or whatever, just because I know understood various real-world concepts that I had never been exposed to back then. The math part, not so good lol

Re:Liberal arts professors' worst nightmare (2)

buddyglass (925859) | about 10 months ago | (#46415963)

You have a curious definition of mediocre considering 1210 is higher than approximately 80% of test takers. Link [collegeboard.com] .

Re:Liberal arts professors' worst nightmare (0)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | about 10 months ago | (#46416225)

Around 25% of Americans complete college. If you score at the 80th percentile on a test that over half of graduating seniors are taking that puts you roughly in the middle quintile of future college graduates.

So yes, mediocre.

A more relevant reply than questioning the definition of mediocre would be to point out that its stupid to care about being mediocre on a test that is only ever used once in your life. On that we would agree. It would be similarly stupid to care about being mediocre at finger-painting or underwater basket weaving. However the fact that its stupid to care about it doesn't change the fact that you'd still be mediocre.

tldr; Middle of the pack of college grads is mediocre but it doesn't really matter for anything so who gives a fuck?

Re:Liberal arts professors' worst nightmare (1)

BonzaiThePenguin (2528980) | about 9 months ago | (#46416377)

How did you arrive at the conclusion that there's a strong correlation between SAT scores and graduation rates? I mean, we're even commenting in an article about the correlation being so low that they're changing the test...

Re:Liberal arts professors' worst nightmare (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46416999)

Dumbing down for even dumber Americans.

What is the goal of the SAT? (3, Insightful)

TheSync (5291) | about 10 months ago | (#46414007)

I thought the goal of the SAT was to predict performance in college, not to gauge "important academic skills".

I suspect actual college performance is best predicted by having the students drink, do drugs, and have sex all night - then have a high-stakes test at 6AM in the morning! (You score some for just making it out of bed BTW)

Re:What is the goal of the SAT? (5, Insightful)

tompaulco (629533) | about 10 months ago | (#46414071)

The goal of the SAT used to be to predict performance in college. Now it is used to predict how much effort one is willing to put into it to game the system. When I took the SAT, it was not something you studied for or took multiple times. You took it once, it showed how much you had learned, and you moved on. Now, there are college prep courses that focus on learning how to do better at the SAT. if you have lots of money and time, you can buy your way to a better grade. It has nothing to do with what you have learned in high school or how you will perform at university. Well, maybe it does show that you might be willing to throw gobs of cash at tutors and whatnot while at university. So maybe it is a positive predictor. After all, Universities are not about teaching, they are about making money. If you happen to learn something along the way, so much the better.

Re:What is the goal of the SAT? (2)

zlives (2009072) | about 10 months ago | (#46414215)

" Universities are not about teaching, they are about making money"
+1 insightful. i continue to be impressed by the football programs though.

Re:What is the goal of the SAT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46414371)

The goal of the SAT used to be to predict performance in college. Now it is used to predict how much effort one is willing to put into it to game the system.

What's the difference? The willingness to jump through hoops one doesn't yet understand is the most valuable skill undergrad students can have.

Re:What is the goal of the SAT? (1)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about 10 months ago | (#46414559)

Now it is used to predict how much effort one is willing to put into it to game the system.

Which sounds like a pretty good indication of certain aspects of college success (not the only one, of course). It's an indicator of being able to do what it takes to succeed. Part of what makes college different from a vocational school is that you have to have a broader range of knowledge, which pretty much takes the form of requiring some classes you probably don't want to take, either because they are a prerequisite for an interesting class or in another discipline. And even in the subjects that are interesting to you, there is going to be material or projects that feel like slow death. For example, an engineering major might be bored to tears in a humanities class, and may hate their writing class (even though writing is a pretty damn important skill for an engineer), and a sociology major might seriously struggle through a math class. Being able to do the scut work of preparing for the SATs is a good indication that those people will be able to get through those classes.

Oh, and before you say "that's why college is stupid" it's also a good indicator of job success. No matter what your job, you're going to have to do things you don't want to. Maybe it's something boring that you have to do to get to the interesting stuff, maybe it's something stupid your boss wants you to do, or maybe (whether you work for yourself or not) it's something stupid the customer wants you to do.

Of course, this is different from the original intent of the SAT which was to measure aptitude, and I'm not advocating that the SATs in their current form are a good thing...just saying that it's still has some meaning as an indicator of potential success.

And, btw, in most cities there are a lot of SAT prep courses nowadays that don't cost a lot of money, you don't have to take an expensive one from Kaplan. It's tougher to find a cheap one if you live in a less populated area without options.

Re:What is the goal of the SAT? (1)

TheSync (5291) | about 9 months ago | (#46416369)

Oh, and before you say "that's why college is stupid" it's also a good indicator of job success. No matter what your job, you're going to have to do things you don't want to.

You would think we could come up with a test cheaper than a $100K+ college education to determine if people are willing to do things they don't want to - perhaps it would be like that reality show "Fear Factor"...

Re:What is the goal of the SAT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46414677)

As someone who was a C student in HS (mid-90's) and took the SAT cold (no studying), and was still partially stoned from the night before, I came out with a 1060. 600 math, 460 verbal. Why yes. I did hate english at the time! I always wondered how the rest of my classmates would have fared if they hadn't spent every waking hour for several months, studying for that thing. Or the ACT for that matter. "But certain colleges prefer the ACT over the SAT." Wow! What a system we have to determine your potential scholastic abilities. I just love the social contract involved with test taking!

Re:What is the goal of the SAT? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46414967)

"The goal of the SAT used to be to predict performance in college. Now it is used to predict how much effort one is willing to put into it to game the system"

Uhhh... Maybe I went to a different college than everyone else.... but... Isn't that a predictor of college performance?

Re:What is the goal of the SAT? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46415107)

When I was entering college (20 years ago, BTW) the SAT was even then something you took multiple times. Scholarship dollars were tied *directly* to your score on the SAT at many institutions. Improvements to your score the second time were generally pretty small, but when so much was riding on the line, spending the money (what, $30 back then?) to take it a second time might well be worth it.

Re:What is the goal of the SAT? (5, Informative)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 10 months ago | (#46415261)

The goal of the SAT used to be to predict performance in college. Now it is used to predict how much effort one is willing to put into it to game the system.

Well, it's always been about trying to predict college performance. Back in the late 60s through early 90s, it was a stable test format, normed rigorously through decades of testing, which was basically an IQ test and advanced reading comprehension test. Things like analogies and vocab testing both how well-read you were and your abstract ability to connect subtleties of meaning; things like quantitative comparisons tested logic and reasoning skills outside of normal basic math.

Then it was renormed in the mid 90s to make it about 100 points easier -- it no longer really could distinguish the top of the scale (which, if you look at the stats, appeared to be disappearing -- the actual number of perfect 1600s went down significantly in the 80s despite increases in number of test takers). The high-level critical reasoning was less stressed in many college programs too.

Gradually, over the past couple decades, the test has been further dumbed down, to service the increasing number of people who want to go to college and the decreasing number of people with high-level literacy and advanced critical reasoning. Analogies and quantitative comparisons disappeared. They added a writing test, but studies showed that the easiest way to get a high score was to write a longer essay, not actually have a stronger argument (at least not above some really basic level).

Increasingly, the test rewarded preparation instead of things harder to teach in some sort of crash prep course, like abstract reasoning.

The latest revisions just follow further in the efforts to service large number of unprepared people who want to attend college. Nobody reads at a high level anymore, so why bother with vocabulary beyond the basics? The test is aiming to be relevant for the average person, which is not where it started -- as an IQ test for the elite. At this point, it's not any better than high school grades for predicting college performance (and actually worse for people with high SAT scores but low GPAs, since it then basically is testing prep skills access to fancy crash courses, rather than higher-level reasoning). So they're basically turning it into a glorified set of midterm high school exams.

Re:What is the goal of the SAT? (1)

galabar (518411) | about 10 months ago | (#46415967)

One of the most insightful comments I've read on Slashdot.

Re:What is the goal of the SAT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46415971)

They added a writing test, but studies showed that the easiest way to get a high score was to write a longer essay, not actually have a stronger argument (at least not above some really basic level).

I suspect the writing test only tests writing as a side-effect (and, as you said, it does a poor job of testing writing). It's there so colleges have a writing sample to compare college essays to.

Sources? (1)

Dumy Ssone (3565199) | about 9 months ago | (#46416707)

How about citing some sources for your claims.

It's correlated! (2)

schlachter (862210) | about 10 months ago | (#46415371)

Well, the use of the word "prediction" aside, it IS CORRELATED with performance in college more so than any other measure...so it's not a meaningless test, at least at the population level. I believe it's correlated at around 0.3 which is very high for social science...whereas HS GPA is more like 0.25.

Nonetheless, none of what I wrote above means that it is a good test, I'm sure there's room for improvement. Sounds like these are good changes coming.

Re:What is the goal of the SAT? (1)

El Puerco Loco (31491) | about 10 months ago | (#46415731)

There have always been SAT prep courses. The dumb kids that took them still did worse than the smart kids who treated it as a joke and stayed up all night partying the night before.

Re:What is the goal of the SAT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46414091)

The SAT was (in theory) supposed to measure scholastic aptitude. You know, testing how strong the student was in a variety of scholarly areas instead of measuring preparation for college. Apparently they've changed their minds?

Re:What is the goal of the SAT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46414433)

The SAT was (in theory) supposed to measure scholastic aptitude [...] instead of measuring preparation for college.

aptitude = preparation
scholastic = for college
Am I wrong?

Re:What is the goal of the SAT? (0)

jmac_the_man (1612215) | about 10 months ago | (#46414707)

aptitude = preparation...

Am I wrong?

Yes. Aptitude means "skill at," not "amount of time spent preparing for." If you want a test that shows how well you prepared for the test, put a lot of trick questions and penalize going with gut instincts (guessing.)

we need more trades / tech schools / apprenticeshi (3, Insightful)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 10 months ago | (#46414277)

we need more trades / tech schools / apprenticeships so college can go back to it's roots and be filled with people who should be in some other place that is both a better fit for them and is better at teaching real hands on skills.

For what jobs? (2)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 10 months ago | (#46414419)

There's no manufacturing to speak of in America. It costs too much to employe Americans. If you bring back manufacturing you bring robots to automate 90% of it.

Turns out, the world doesn't really need ditch diggers anymore...

Re:For what jobs? (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 10 months ago | (#46414503)

and we don't need people loaded with theory but lacking in skills needed to do the job.

Re:For what jobs? (5, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | about 10 months ago | (#46414827)

There's never been a decade where the amount of manufacturing in America has dropped. The manufacturing jobs have all gone, but the whole "bring robots to automate 90% of it" thing has been happening for 30 years now, and is mostly complete. The main reason China is having a crisis with its manufacturing sector is America is finally automating the tail end of stuff we used to send to China.

Yet we still have a school system tuned for producing manufacturing workers. We're not in a good place - we're about 20 years late in transforming our schools to produce engineers and artists instead.
 

Re:For what jobs? (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 10 months ago | (#46415329)

Yeah, but what do we do with all the people. Japan is lousy with engineers, but their economy sucks. Plus we just don't _need_ that many highly skilled engineers. Sure, we could always use more Einsteins, but they're one in a million genetic freaks. We can't just stamp those guys out no matter how much we try.

actually we produce neither (1)

schlachter (862210) | about 10 months ago | (#46415389)

Actually our school system is tuned to producing neither.

If we were producing manufacturing workers, you'd see way more vocational programs with companies deeply involved in apprenticing students so that by the time they are 16 they can go work in the factory or as a skilled laborer.

We should be producing BOTH. The economy would benefit from both.

Re:actually we produce neither (1)

lgw (121541) | about 9 months ago | (#46416499)

There's no need for manufacturing workers, paper shufflers, or really unskilled labor of any kind in the decades to come. If it can be automated, it will be automated.

What we need are skills of any kind, from design engineers to interior designers. If we follow the pattern established for automation, we'll mostly be doing stuff for one another that used to be done only for the rich. Jobs with a bit of creativity required, and a lot of legwork, from personal shopper to home theater installation. Plumbers and electricians too, of course. But engineering seems to be the hard niche to fill.

Re:For what jobs? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46414861)

Such misinformation.
The US was #1 for the longest time, only in the last year or so has China exceeded the manufacturing output of the US, and only by a few percent.
There are relatively few manufacturing jobs due to automation, but saying the US doesn't make anything is competely wrong.

Re:For what jobs? (1)

queazocotal (915608) | about 10 months ago | (#46415709)

I would be interested in a real breakdown of 'make anything', and how that's measured.
It's a really hard thing to measure.
There are obvious things to measure - for example - total factory gate revenue.
You get very different numbers if you measure retail sales.

Similarly - a company imports 8 Chinese parts for $100, puts it in a $20 box, and sells for $400.

Getting the right numbers is hard.

Re:For what jobs? (1)

benzapp (464105) | about 10 months ago | (#46416137)

The problem is intelligence is entirely genetic.

Turns out, anyone with an IQ less than 100 is economically obsolete and is easily replaced by a machine. The majority of humans have an IQ of less than 100.

So, the question becomes, what do we do with these people?

Re:For what jobs? (1)

uncqual (836337) | about 9 months ago | (#46416479)

A question I ask often (and get lambasted for because it's "politically incorrect").

We (the US and the entire world) must find an answer to this. The industrial revolution provided jobs for those displaced from agriculture by steam tractors and the like. This time, automation is replacing the humans both through directly replacing them and by "self serve" which is just more efficient than the "full serve" model (web retailers, self checkout, self serve gas stations). There doesn't seem to be anywhere for the lesser IQ people to go.

The worst thing we can do is ignore the problem and have lesser IQ produce a disproportionate number of lesser IQ offspring (the smarter you are, the more likely you are to be educated and the less likely you are to have even "replacement" children, let alone a brood). Perhaps we address this by offering aid but at a decreasing rate depending on how many offspring the person has had (broad DNA databases would probably be required to implement this along with free and easy optional sterilization and other forms of birth control). Quite messy.

Re:we need more trades / tech schools / apprentice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46414429)

FWIW there are tons of trade and tech schools in the US. Some need to better advertise for sure. While others need to evaluate their tuition costs, among other issues. For example, local non-profit trade school annual tuition was about $14k for a refrigeration tech. That's twice what I paid for tuition at a state university.

Re:we need more trades / tech schools / apprentice (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 9 months ago | (#46416683)

Never going to happen. trade schools do not have fraternities and are too much like working. Apprenticeship are great, for a career, and for learning, but they are not high school 2.0, with more drinking, sex, and drugs, so they are never going to attract 99% of the college going population.

Re:What is the goal of the SAT? (1)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 10 months ago | (#46414581)

I thought the goal of the SAT was to predict performance in college, not to gauge "important academic skills".

It sure wasn't meant to test your understanding of the material; rote memorization 'geniuses' (the majority) love that.

Oooohh (1)

schlachter (862210) | about 10 months ago | (#46415345)

People already retake the test too often...with your approach they'd be retaking it every day!

How about replacing the College Board? (5, Insightful)

MacAndrew (463832) | about 10 months ago | (#46414065)

While they debate what to do ... the Board itself should be challenged for its power and profiteering. They overcharge for things that should be dirt cheap like score reporting, keep pumping out more and more tests, and have surprisingly little proof of the validity of the tests themselves. Meanwhile the test prep industry is making millions, providing (or insinuating) false claims of what they can deliver, and helping wealth discrimination.

Closely timed fill-in-the-bubble test-taking skills are not valuable life skills, in college or elsewhere. FWIW I'm speaking as someone who got near-perfect SAT scores, as did my son, and have to admit it's a scam. The scores do mean *something,* but it's all gotten out of control. GPA is the single best predictor of performance. (But don't get me started on grade inflation....)

Re:How about replacing the College Board? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46414443)

GPA is the single best predictor of performance.

That depends on the calibre of the university. At the more selective schools, students don't succeed on diligence alone. At a place like MIT or Harvard, the skills that fetch a top-level GPA in high school are not nearly as useful as the skills that fetch a top-level SAT score.

Re:How about replacing the College Board? (1)

MacAndrew (463832) | about 10 months ago | (#46414489)

No. My scores for example were "so what" at Harvard. At those schools, the SAT scores of many applicants tend to be so good that they don't matter. The school can admit all the 800 scores they want, but do go looking for other qualities. The statistical validity of the SAT above 700 or so is not very good and is not useful for distinguishing among candidates—the test is designed around the much lower and heavily populated mean. Moreover, the SAT is technically not an IQ test any more, rather a measure of scholastic "achievement." (The "A" in SAT used to stand for aptitude, until 1992 or so. Mensa no longer accepts SAT scores I think. I'm not endorsing IQ tests here either.)

Consider http://www.washingtonpost.com/... [washingtonpost.com]

Re:How about replacing the College Board? (2)

slew (2918) | about 10 months ago | (#46414999)

Actually, at more selective schools, above a certain level, GPAs and SATs are totally uncorrelated to collegiate performance.

The best indicator of performance at selective schools (as most admission folks at selective schools will tell you), is sustained participation and leadership rolls in Extra Curricular activities (e.g., treasurer of Club X, going to State in sport Y, second chair playing instrument Z, attending Community college classes, volunteering w/ organization W, starting your own business, etc).

This is somewhat because nearly all high achievers have at least a little ego and many book worms don't tend to handle environments where they aren't the top performers grade-wise and have few alternative places to park their egos. Unlike the highly skewed distribution at Lake Wobegon [wikipedia.org] , nearly 1/2 the folks are below average in a typical class.

You would probably be unsurprised at the vast number of applications that have 4.6 GPAs scored perfect on the SAT and as extra-curriculars list paying a "little-piano" and National Honor society. A standing joke is to wonder how little that piano actually is and how hard it must be to hit the note you want on those "little-keys".

Aren't you begging the question? (1)

Dumy Ssone (3565199) | about 9 months ago | (#46416789)

Those "best indicators of performance at selective schools" of yours beg the question--you limit it to "selective" schools. Of course the most socially adept of a selective school's incoming students will do relatively well--they are not only qualified for admittance to selective schools based on GPA and standardized test scores, like their cohorts, they are also the least likely to suffer negative impact from social anxieties associated with moving away from friends and family for the first time into an environment where they are no longer the "special" ones, but among equally capable individuals.

Re:How about replacing the College Board? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46414587)

GPA is the single best predictor of performance.

No it's not. Six "A" grades in arts and shop and PE classes isn't worth even a single "B" in an extra Science or Math class when you're looking at College. If all you go by is GPA, all you do is encourage kids to skip the "hard" classes and take a bunch of filler bullshit.

Re:How about replacing the College Board? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 10 months ago | (#46414673)

It's not the only predictor, just the single best identifiable one.

Re:How about replacing the College Board? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46414785)

I don't necessarily mean the GPA calculated by the high school. (Ours inflate the hell out of them.) The colleges that care figure their own GPAs. They notice whether the classes were challenging, advanced placement, or basket weaving. They strip out the electives. Some don't worry much about freshman year. Etc. GPA is vulnerable, but it has a lot more to do with delivering the goods than doing well on a contrived test on one Saturday morning. It's not just my opinion, there are studies to back this up.

Re:How about replacing the College Board? (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 10 months ago | (#46415431)

Exactly when I was in high school I took a health course online rather than the standard due to course time collusions. After I finished the course in about a week I went though and took about 5 others classes extra in the same quarter. All were exceedingly easy already plus they forgot to lock you out of making google searches while taking tests. Opps. Even the dumbest moron in the room passed in flying colors. No course grade in there meant anything other than "I can successfully type a question word for word into Google". Thats probably about the time I started to read slashdot come to think of it. I had several weeks where I had no class work in there thanks to them only allowing you to take so many courses on-line per quarter. Graduating with plenty of extra credit hours was nice.

Re:How about replacing the College Board? (1)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 10 months ago | (#46414607)

The scores do mean *something,*

Well, if the person does poorly, it might indicate that they don't understand the material and that they didn't memorize it. It fails to eliminate the majority of the people who pass the test who don't understand why anything works.

GPA is the single best predictor of performance.

GPA is the best predictor that you might have a rote memorization genius, an ass kisser, a rich kid, and/or someone who took lots of easy classes on your hands.

Re:How about replacing the College Board? (1)

buddyglass (925859) | about 10 months ago | (#46416057)

GPA is the best predictor that you might have a rote memorization genius, an ass kisser, a rich kid, and/or someone who took lots of easy classes on your hands.

Eh. At my engineering-focused selective high school the kids who got the best grades were the ones that worked the hardest. The valedictorian and salutatorian were actually two of the least likely people to cheat. They just made a point of always completing their assignments and always being as prepared as possible for tests. In terms of SAT scores they were in the upper echelon, but not the absolute highest.

Re:How about replacing the College Board? (1)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 10 months ago | (#46416139)

At my engineering-focused selective high school the kids who got the best grades were the ones that worked the hardest.

Working hard and understanding what you're doing are two different things. Most people work hard to memorize the information schools expect them to memorize, but they don't understand shit.

Re:How about replacing the College Board? (1)

buddyglass (925859) | about 9 months ago | (#46416249)

Working hard and understanding what you're doing are two different things.

Sure. But that's not what you originally said. You laid out the options as: "rote memorization genius", "ass kisser", "rich kid" or "someone who took lots of easy classes". The classmates of mine who got the best grades weren't necessarily any better at memorizing facts than I was. Unlike me, however, they took the time to complete their assignments and made a point of preparing before tests. Whereas I might actually have had more aptitude for memorizing facts than they did, they had a clearly superior work ethic and better time management skills: two things that strongly correlate with success in college (and the work force).

Re:How about replacing the College Board? (1)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 9 months ago | (#46416325)

Sure. But that's not what you originally said.

Well, it was one of the options (rote memorization geniuses), at least. I didn't mean that their memories have to be amazing, but that they memorize the material without understanding it. I call the people (seemingly the majority) who manage to slip by all these classes and tests without understanding the material "rote memorization geniuses" or "Jeopardy! geniuses." I've seen a lot of those people, and many of them did work hard to accomplish what they were trying to do (memorize material).

Whereas I might actually have had more aptitude for memorizing facts than they did, they had a clearly superior work ethic and better time management skills: two things that strongly correlate with success in college (and the work force).

That's mediocrity for you; always concerned with the work force, success in artificial environments, and being obedient.

Re:How about replacing the College Board? (1)

buddyglass (925859) | about 9 months ago | (#46416443)

Well, it was one of the options (rote memorization geniuses), at least. I didn't mean that their memories have to be amazing, but that they memorize the material without understanding it.

Ah, I misunderstood. Still, I'm not so quick to dismiss it all as rote memorization. I mean, we took a differential equations class together; it wasn't just memorizing multiplication tables. AP Physics, History, English Lit. and Comp., Computer Science, etc. Sometimes it takes effort to learn things; effort I wasn't willing to put out. Luckily for me (or perhaps unluckily, from another perspective) I was able to "slip by all these classes" by just being able to (sort of) pick stuff up without working very hard at it. That approach served me well enough until graduate school, when I finally reached the point at which my near-total lack of a work ethic couldn't be overcome with sheer aptitude.

That's mediocrity for you; always concerned with the work force, success in artificial environments, and being obedient.

Dude. "The work force" isn't an artificial environment. "Work ethic" and "time management skills" are just as important there (if not more so) than in school.

Re:How about replacing the College Board? (1)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 9 months ago | (#46416713)

Ah, I misunderstood. Still, I'm not so quick to dismiss it all as rote memorization. I mean, we took a differential equations class together; it wasn't just memorizing multiplication tables.

It doesn't really need to be memorization multiplication tables for it to be rote memorization; it could be the memorization of other facts, patterns, or procedures.

Dude. "The work force" isn't an artificial environment.

I didn't specifically say that it was. I was referring to schools and colleges.

"Work ethic" and "time management skills" are just as important there (if not more so) than in school.

"Work ethic" is vague. Some people seem to think it means being an obedient worker drone, and that's what I can't get behind. Time management skills are fine, but I prefer not to learn according to someone else's schedule, so formal education has never been for me.

Re:How about replacing the College Board? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46415533)

GPA is the single best predictor of performance.

It might be, if all schools were standardized and students graded on a consistent scale.

But for students like me, the SAT was very important. I went from public middle school, where I had an A+ GPA to a private prep high school that had 100% matriculation (40% Ivy). My classmates were nearly all privileged kids with tutors from the nearby university who helped them with their homework. With 4-5 hours of homework expected per night, they managed much better than I did. The result was I had a sub-3.0 GPA whereas my friends at the districts public school, who wer never the students I had been, all got 3.5+ GPAs. Had it not been for my almost-1500 SAT (out of the then-1600 max score) and even better SAT II scores, I wouldn't have gotten into any decent schools.

Until college admissions boards figure out a way to normalize GPAs to account for the tremendous variation of the schools that issue them, GPAs are very overrated.

Re:How about replacing the College Board? (1)

MacAndrew (463832) | about 10 months ago | (#46415799)

That's very much the ideal of the SAT, to draw out kids who are bright but haven't shown in through grades. It does happen. Statistically however, GPA is still a better predictor. It's just not the only one, and the SAT is overrated—hence even its creator talking about reform (again). My (totally unscientific) experience has been that a lot of the super-groomed kids don't come across so great. Having a soul is valuable too.

Ideally of course you have good grades *and* SAT scores! My kid has, to put it mildly, a very wide spread between SATs and GPA. I have no idea what the schools will think. They *are* in fact looking to GPA more and more. I think they are aware of the reputations of a great many schools and of grade inflation. Like you, I went to a prep school where everyone went to college, and its reputation stood for a lot. And straight A's in all AP classes at a school people have heard of is a fair criterion.

I think most admissions decisions are made on relatively little info and reflection. A lot of schools admit half or more of their applicants, and only a fraction actually matriculate. I doubt the 20-somethings doing most of the review are working too hard at analyzing the applicants. None of the schools my son applied to, for example, had interviews. On the other hand, yes, some schools get into it a little harder.

Oh BTW—congrats on pulling through the morass!

Prediction (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46414075)

If scores go down after this it will be received as proof that kids today are all morons.

If scores go up after this it will be received as proof that they had to dumb down the test because kids today are all morons.

Good Grief! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46414107)

42 years too late.

nice... (1)

Connie_Lingus (317691) | about 10 months ago | (#46414133)

it's really nice to hear the the test that almost totally defined my future opportunities that I took when i was 16 (1982), barely old enough to understand much about career and life...

when what collage you were accepted to and what you were to study pretty much defined how successful you could be (thank god those times are changing fast, tbh)... ...has been "fundamentally rethought" and judged wanting in many areas...

what is this really telling people in my age group??

  "whoops...sorry about that...due to our ignorance you missed 60 points on the test that could have helped you get scholarship money and/or admission to a significantly better schoo...better luch next time, oh our bad, there isn't any next time"

or some shit like that....sigh.

Re:nice... (3, Insightful)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 10 months ago | (#46414171)

I think it might still grade spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc so you're still out of "luch".

Re:nice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46414389)

Which just proves the point they were making.

Re:nice... (1)

WhirledOne (213095) | about 10 months ago | (#46414395)

I believe a "luch" is a giant balding North American ape; essentially an embiggened quijibo.
You might know of it as the "Luch Ness Monster," though the original spelling got lost in the mists of time.

Re:nice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46415361)

It's a sad day when you meet a person who can't spell "kwyjibo".

Re:nice... (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | about 10 months ago | (#46414619)

He could definitely take some collage courses though, those don't require high SAT results!

Re:nice... (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 10 months ago | (#46415845)

Just scissors and paste?

Oh, and a stack of old magazines.

Re:nice... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46415421)

Oh go fuck yourself you pompous bitch cunt baby boomer parasite. Just fucking die already before EVERYthing is gone, instead of just virtually everything.

Re:nice... (1)

RobertinXinyang (1001181) | about 10 months ago | (#46415749)

From another Gen X'er, just face it, we're screwed. By the time the boomers die (because a small number of them cashed in on dismantling the pensions; so no one can afford to retire) employers will be wanting young millennials, fresh out of college.

I learned more in 6 months using Khan Academy... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46414173)

than I learned in 4 years of high school.

Any role Khan is allowed to play in formal education is a great thing.

Re:I learned more in 6 months using Khan Academy.. (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 10 months ago | (#46415891)

I am more worried about a bunch of musty old farts at the 'College Board' ruining Khan Academy.

Dumb it down (0)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 10 months ago | (#46414191)

So basically they're going to dumb down the test so that the scores will be higher.

Just cosmetics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46414233)

They need to get rid of the SATs altogether. They distort the schooling system and do not show one's competence in learning in the long run at all.

Re:Just cosmetics... (1)

buddyglass (925859) | about 10 months ago | (#46416017)

...and do not show one's competence in learning in the long run at all.

Disagree. The test isn't perfect by a long shot, but if you give me a guy who scored 1600 and a guy who scored 900 (on a 1600 point scale) and force me to bet money on who's the quicker learner...I'm going with the 1600 guy. And I suspect you'd do the same, without any other knowledge about the two individuals.

The SAT never focused on academic skills. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46414243)

The SAT, the ACT and to some extent the AP examinations have always had two purposes. FIrst to let high ranking schools have a tool to compare students from completely different backgrounds, so an A student from school X can be compared to an A student from school Y even if the rest of the student body is not comparable. Second to let State U know if a B student from in-state schools will be able to succeed in various fields at said state school.

Moving to a 1600 pt system doesn't change either of these. The kids who start preparing for the SAT/ACT/AP exams in 8th grade will continue to outscore (on average) the kids who start preparing in 10th grade. The B students who didn't learn enough in high school and start preparing in 11th grade will wind up in the same quartile they would have placed had the test been based on 2400 with essay.

Maybe I'm wrong and there are lots of states where a top 10%- GPA paired with a reasonable SAT is not enough to get into State U. That's not going to change. At the same time, for admittance to elite schools there must be a metric, at a national level, to decide between candidates. Any such metric will favor certain socioeconomic groups.

basketball and football need minor leagues so they (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 10 months ago | (#46414297)

basketball and football need minor leagues so they don't end up Dumbing down for people who should not be there. Not saying that all of them are really bumb but lot's of them can be better both playing and learning a trade and / or going to a tech school.

Don't think too long (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46414373)

SAT is NP-complete

SAT abandons the most promising of undiscovered (1)

harvey the nerd (582806) | about 10 months ago | (#46414377)

Sounds like the College Board will concentrate on evaluating an increasingly dysfunctional middle and abandoning the top 0.1-2% with the SAT. Probably a battery of advanced, expensive achievement / AP tests for the top 2%-5% well educated students, forget about finding untrained native ability. This is a disaster to the poor but promising who can't afford to great schools.

no penalty for guesses? (1)

buddyglass (925859) | about 10 months ago | (#46415999)

Removing the penalty for guessing on a timed multiple choice test is dumb. It will only penalize those test takers who don't realize its now advantageous to guess on all remaining questions (as opposed to leaving them blank) if they're about to run out of time and haven't finished a section.

Re:no penalty for guesses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46416855)

Christmas trees vs. all C's: discuss...

Really? (1)

khb (266593) | about 10 months ago | (#46416123)

Essay writing isn't a key skill useful for college or thereafter?

Penalizing students for guessing is somehow no longer a good idea?

I appreciate their thinking about the issues, but the conclusions seem odd to me.

Examples (1)

Alioth (221270) | about 9 months ago | (#46417281)

Anyone have any examples of the "rarefied vocabulary" used by the SAT?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?