By Mark Greenstein, Ivy Bound Founder and Lead Instructor
Mark My Words…
…The ReDesigned SAT portends AWFUL results for students in bad urban schools.
The SAT is moving towards an achievement test. That’s good for well-prepared kids (although redundant, as grades and SAT Subject Tests already show achievement) and bad for ill-prepared kids.
The Current SAT is a decent test of REASONING. Students apply reasoning irrespective of their school backgrounds. “See this new function; now apply it” greatly transcends the K-12 classroom you are stuck in. “Read this; now infer from it” also allows reasoning, not knowledge, to display itself.
Unless the SAT dramatically changes from the pre-cursors it’s putting forth, or fudges the numbers this spring, students with weak foundations are going to fare WORSE.
At least one suburban school superintendent shares this opinion. He contends “in the long run, that will be good, because those urban classrooms will slowly get better.” If true, it’s done with the sacrifice of several years of urban students not receiving strong college acceptances.
I predict a RE-Redesign. The College Board will be unable to hold its status for opening opportunities without altering the test once again. Hopefully that can happen by fall 2016, before it’s too late for a whole crop of graduating seniors.
Improving on the current SAT is a very coachable task. Ambitious students have more coaching resources than any other endeavor, from The College Board’s 18 Practice Tests, to the materials in books (another 20 are available at my Barnes & Noble alone), to the countless test prep firms offering courses in urban areas and online.
The change to a Redesigned SAT, with only five practice tests, means a skillful, ambitious student will have a harder time standing out. An SAT with problems drawn from a much broader swath of academic and non-academic life makes the next few graduating classes inherently unequal.
So much for “leveling the playing field”.