...as in the imperative (i.e. you, youth, progress). This blog is updated by politically active young people. Issues that will be discussed are those which concern young voters and are of concern to young voters.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

WaPo: More Students Eyeing College Opt to Take ACT

More Students Eyeing College Opt to Take ACT - The Washington Post

Among the many challenging choices that a high school senior must make today: which entrance exam? The SAT, the ACT, none, both? Indeed, I took both the SAT and ACT as part of my college process. The first test I took was the (new) SAT. As currently configured, the SAT is a catastrophe, a nearly four-hour ordeal aimed of assigning a number to an incoming student's "scholastic aptitude." This year, an essay was added, and the top score was increased from 1600 to 2400.

This new SAT was the product of the California State Department of Education. In 2001, officials within that system, including within the University of California system, complained that too many scores from high school seniors within the state of California were "off the charts," and that the SAT must be made more difficult, and measure a broader range of scores to assist the University of California system to assess candidates for its competitive universities. With its complaints and threats, California was successful in getting the College Board, the organization which administers the SAT as well as SAT II's, the PSAT, and AP exams, to change the SAT. The result was the much harder, longer, and less reliable SAT that was administered to me and other students across the country in 2005.

Notwithstanding the approximated 5,000 test documents graded incorrectly by test computers due to "moisture in the test documents," the actual administration of the test was adequate. Where the College Board went wrong, and the secretive College Board often does, was in the lengthening of the test. The nearly four hour exam is a better indicator of a student's resistance to fatigue than scholastic aptitude. For this reason, I opted to take the ACT, like an increasing number of students throughout America, according to the Washington Post.

In order for the SAT to become a more fair test, it must be partitioned into sections which students can take on separate days.

My complaints of the College Board do not stop at the SAT. The College Board fools parents and students into forking over more money by offering AP and SAT II examinations in the same subjects. In my personal experience, and that of my SAT/ACT tutor, I could hardly notice a difference between some of the AP and SAT II exams on the same subjects. States and other institutions should demand that the Board should do away with either all AP or SAT II exams; there is no reason for the student to be tested twice in the same subject.

States and the federal government should demand greater transparency from the College Board. They trust this shadowy organization with the future of the fruits of their educational systems. Matters of such importance cannot be withheld from governmental scrutiny.


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