Friday, February 22, 2008

Sick And Tired (SAT) of Standardized Tests

Free Clipart Illustration of Kids Taking a Test. Click Here to Get Free Images at School ClipartThere are some kids and parents who simply hate College Board. That is the examination board which manages the SAT, PSAT, AP and other standardized tests which all high school kids must plod through if they hope to make it to college. They are quite sophisticated as they invite kids to set up an account online where they can register for their tests, get questions for the day, sit a practice test and get their scores online. Kids however hate them. These are some of the complaints I have heard from kids.

I hate College Board (CB) because:

  1. The SAT is 4 hours long.
  2. Imagine I am doing a test that is 4 hours long and one section isn’t even scored and I don’t know which one it is.
  3. Who can write a sensible essay in 25 minutes?
  4. CB says the scores would be out on the 14th so why aren’t my scores out yet?
  5. My CB score report says I omitted 2 math questions and I know I didn’t.
  6. CB charges $50 to hand score my test.
  7. CB says that they will hand score my test and get back to me in 3-5 weeks. It is now week 7 and no word from CB.
  8. CB says my score is unchanged so now I am out $50.
  9. CB sucks I got a lower score than I expected so I paid $50 to hand score my test and now my score has gone up by 100 points.
  10. CB sends all my SAT scores to colleges and in my first test I did horribly.

Some of these kids have a point. For example 4 hours is just too long. Ok, it is not quite 4 hours more like 3 hours and 45 minutes but those last 45 minutes must seem real drawn-out. After a while it must take an extra special effort to focus on those trick questions as diminishing returns would have started to set in.

What is quite amusing is that the letters SAT mean nothing. That is right SAT stands for nothing. Some people might think that is quite appropriate but the truth is when it was first administered in 1926, it was called the Scholastic Aptitude Test. Then it lasted under two hours. The test under went several changes over the years including a name change to the Scholastic Assessment test as a result of the view that the test did not really assess a child’s true abilities or indeed intelligence. Now the test is simply known as the SAT Reasoning Test. Some people may argue that it should be called the Stamina Ability Test.

If you are Sick And Tired of the SAT you may consider looking at the ACT which is also a standardized college entrance test but for you SAT and CB haters, the ACT is around 3 hours long if you do not take the writing test. Yes the writing section is optional so far, but even if you do take it, you are allowed to complete it in 30 minutes and that still takes you to under 3 hours and 45 minutes.

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