Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 06:11 am est

College Board revamps rules on SATs

Posted on March 11, 2014 | by Ann Schmidt

Shawn Paik/WSN

The College Board announced on March 5 that the essay portion of the SAT will be optional for test-takers in 2016.

College Board spokeswoman Katherine Levin said the SAT will be changed so that it offers more opportunity to a larger group of students.

“Less than half of the students who take the SAT are college ready, and that statistic has remained constant over time,” Levin said. “Even among those who are ready, the majority of low-income, high-achieving students do not apply to the colleges within their reach.”

LS sophomore Sunwoo Oh said it is easier for students to be tutored in critical reading and math questions than to write an essay.

“[Essay writing is] a way to precisely articulate thoughts and arguments into words in a short amount of time,” Oh said. “It’s crucial and that’s about the only section you can actually see how articulate, and maybe in some cases, intellectual, a student is.”

Overall, students who apply to NYU, including international students, take the SAT more than they take the ACT. Out of over 52,000 students who applied to NYU for the Fall 2014 semester, 36,820 submitted their SAT scores, according to the admissions office.

NYU spokesman James Devitt said the effects on the admission process are still uncertain.

“Given the very recent announced change to the SAT and that it won’t take effect for a couple of years, it’s premature to determine how this would affect the admissions process — if at all,” Devitt said.

LS sophomore Adriel Chang said the changes seem to be going in the right direction.

“It’s also to the various schools’ credit if they realized that the SATs weren’t the best standard of measuring academic ability,” Chang said. “But it’s also telling on the education system in general if a student needs to study specifically for the SATs, that high school education just isn’t giving students enough exposure to the level of vocabulary deemed appropriate in the past. And it seems almost as if we’re lowering our standards in a sense.”

Levin said the goal of the SAT is to prepare students for college success and to make sure they are taking advantage of the opportunities they have.

“Because a test alone can’t change student outcomes, assessments such as the SAT must be integrated with rigorous classroom instruction, and through their results, propel students to greater opportunities,” Levin said. “The redesigned SAT will reward productive use of classroom time and a focus on rigorous course work.”

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, March 11 print edition. Ann Schmidt is a news editor. Email her at


  • Anna Le

    I disagree with the statement that the SAT vocabulary changes stem from institutions lowering their standards. The vocabulary changes are shifting from obscure words such as “tristful” and “arcane” to more common, practical words.

    “The idea is that the test will emphasize words students should be encountering, like ‘synthesis,’ which can have several meanings depending on their context. Instead of encouraging students to memorize flashcards, the test should promote the idea that they must read widely throughout their high-school years.”

    We’re not lowering our standards; we’re asking students to meet more indicative and fair standards.

    Source: NYTimes

profile portrait
Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.


Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.