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College Board To Rethink the SAT, Partner With Khan Academy 134

Posted by Soulskill
from the abba-cadaba dept.
An anonymous reader writes "According to the NY Times, 'Saying its college admission exams do not focus enough on the important academic skills, the College Board announced on Wednesday a fundamental rethinking of the SAT, eliminating obligatory essays, ending the longstanding penalty for guessing wrong and cutting obscure vocabulary words. ... The SAT's rarefied vocabulary words will be replaced by words that are common in college courses, such as "empirical" and "synthesis." The math questions, now scattered widely across many topics, will focus more narrowly on linear equations, functions and proportional thinking. The use of a calculator will no longer be allowed on some of the math sections.' The College Board will also be working with Khan Academy to provide students with free, online practice problems and instructional videos. The new version of the SAT will be introduced in 2016."
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College Board To Rethink the SAT, Partner With Khan Academy

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  • by Jade_Butterfly (3564465) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @06:24PM (#46413993)
    The current college entrance tests make it easy to game the system, even for someone like me, who had an ultra low high school GPA. They test knowledge that is easy to learn during a few last minute cramming sessions. These changes might actually make them fair tests.
  • by TheSync (5291) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @06:26PM (#46414007) Journal

    I thought the goal of the SAT was to predict performance in college, not to gauge "important academic skills".

    I suspect actual college performance is best predicted by having the students drink, do drugs, and have sex all night - then have a high-stakes test at 6AM in the morning! (You score some for just making it out of bed BTW)

  • by MacAndrew (463832) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @06:34PM (#46414065) Homepage

    While they debate what to do ... the Board itself should be challenged for its power and profiteering. They overcharge for things that should be dirt cheap like score reporting, keep pumping out more and more tests, and have surprisingly little proof of the validity of the tests themselves. Meanwhile the test prep industry is making millions, providing (or insinuating) false claims of what they can deliver, and helping wealth discrimination.

    Closely timed fill-in-the-bubble test-taking skills are not valuable life skills, in college or elsewhere. FWIW I'm speaking as someone who got near-perfect SAT scores, as did my son, and have to admit it's a scam. The scores do mean *something,* but it's all gotten out of control. GPA is the single best predictor of performance. (But don't get me started on grade inflation....)

  • by tompaulco (629533) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @06:35PM (#46414071) Homepage Journal
    The goal of the SAT used to be to predict performance in college. Now it is used to predict how much effort one is willing to put into it to game the system. When I took the SAT, it was not something you studied for or took multiple times. You took it once, it showed how much you had learned, and you moved on. Now, there are college prep courses that focus on learning how to do better at the SAT. if you have lots of money and time, you can buy your way to a better grade. It has nothing to do with what you have learned in high school or how you will perform at university. Well, maybe it does show that you might be willing to throw gobs of cash at tutors and whatnot while at university. So maybe it is a positive predictor. After all, Universities are not about teaching, they are about making money. If you happen to learn something along the way, so much the better.
  • Re:nice... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by oodaloop (1229816) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @06:46PM (#46414171)
    I think it might still grade spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc so you're still out of "luch".
  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @07:00PM (#46414277)

    we need more trades / tech schools / apprenticeships so college can go back to it's roots and be filled with people who should be in some other place that is both a better fit for them and is better at teaching real hands on skills.

  • by aardvarkjoe (156801) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @07:05PM (#46414319)

    Your test is showing that too many students are unprepared for college? Well, we can solve that problem -- just change the test!

    There's something fundamentally wrong with our schools when it is a rarity for a high school graduate to be capable of composing a short written essay.

  • Re:For what jobs? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lgw (121541) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @08:13PM (#46414827) Journal

    There's never been a decade where the amount of manufacturing in America has dropped. The manufacturing jobs have all gone, but the whole "bring robots to automate 90% of it" thing has been happening for 30 years now, and is mostly complete. The main reason China is having a crisis with its manufacturing sector is America is finally automating the tail end of stuff we used to send to China.

    Yet we still have a school system tuned for producing manufacturing workers. We're not in a good place - we're about 20 years late in transforming our schools to produce engineers and artists instead.
     

  • by chihowa (366380) * on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @10:40PM (#46415783)

    I taught a couple of the GRE prep courses in college and I disagree (though not for the reasons the prep companies will likely say). The prep courses make you practice, which allows you to solve the problems more quickly and this makes a huge difference. These are timed tests.

    I don't remember the SAT well (it's been forever since I took it, but I did do extremely well which helped moderate my poor high school GPA), but the GRE was based very heavily around high-school level skills that needed to be performed quickly to score well. If you hadn't solved some of these problems in years, you'd get them correct but waste time remembering the best strategy for solving them. (Trig, for instance, isn't hard but I never use it and I'm in a math-based field. It took a little while to remember how to quickly solve the problems.)

    There's no need to take the prep courses to do well (I didn't), but practice pays off big and the courses encourage you to practice.

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny ..." -- Isaac Asimov

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