Dear Commons Community,
David Coleman, in announcing the redesign of the College Board’s SAT, made several provocative comments regarding the problems with his “big test”. Among the changes to be instituted will be a return to the 1600-point scoring system, a test based more on the Common Core Curriculum, fee waivers for low-income students, and an effort to negate unfair test-preparation. Here are excerpts of the announcement as reported in a Huffington Post article:
“The changes are meant to mitigate the unfair test-prep culture the SAT has engendered, to foster more meaningful learning in school, and to make the testing process more open, Coleman said in the prepared text of his speech.
Coleman condemned the old SAT and its competitor, the ACT, calling them out of touch, and sometimes inadvertent culprits in creating educational inequity.
“We plan to make an exam that is clearer and more open than any in our history,” Coleman said in the speech. “We need to get rid of the sense of mystery and dismantle the advantages that people perceive in using costly test preparation…”
“It is time to admit that the SAT and ACT have become disconnected from the work of our high schools,” he said. “Too many feel that the prevalence of test prep and expensive coaching reinforces privilege rather than merit.
“It is time for the College Board to say in a clear voice that the culture and practice of costly test preparation … drives the perception of inequality and injustice in our country,” Coleman said. “It may not be our fault but it is our problem.”
We thank Mr. Coleman for his candid comments. I don’t know that the new revamped SAT will solve the problems he has rightfully identified. It would be good if our education policymakers in the US Department of Education and our state education departments came to the same realization that most standardized testing does not assess learning but perpetuates the inequalities that exist in our education systems.