Pharos-Tribune

Opinion

March 28, 2014

FREY: The SAT has run its course and then some

In the March 24 issue of Time, Leon Bolstein, president of Bard College and the music director of the American Symphony Orchestra, published a doom-and-gloom commentary on the SAT.

Bard writes that the scholastic aptitude test is “part hoax and part fraud” and should be “abandoned and replaced.”

The $51 paper-based standardized test (which has been wreaking havoc on would-be college students since first introduced in 1926) is owned, published and developed by the College Board, which is a private, nonprofit organization.

Taking 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete, the multiple-choice and sentence completion test is composed of three sections: critical reading, mathematics and writing (not even taken into consideration at some colleges and universities).

Although the College Board advertises that the SAT is an “essential passport” for college admission and a path to financial support through scholarships, Bolstein vehemently disagrees.

“The blunt fact is that high school grades, as long as they are adjusted to account for the curriculums and academic programs in the high school from which a student graduates, are a much better predictor of academic achievements in college than the SAT.”

Bolstein further writes that the test violates the basic justification for any test because it remains divorced from what is taught in high school and what ought to be taught in high school, and that the test taker never really finds out whether he or she got any answer right or wrong or why, for that matter (unless, of course, you would like to pay the College Board yet another fee to find out).

My son, Charles, who is a junior at Frankfort High School, will take the test on May 3.

In the meantime, Charles and his friends are enrolled in a two-month SAT prep course called Excel Edge taught by an FHS English teacher and an FHS math teacher.

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