College Board revamps rules on SATs

March 11, 2014

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 aschmidt@nyunews.com.

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