While the SAT has been an integral part of the college application process for decades, recently school administrators in both high schools and college have adjusted in order to deal with rising pressures to “teach to the test” by adjusting curriculums and how strongly colleges weigh the SAT as a part of their admissions process. While once one of the strongest deciding factors that schools have used to determine if a student had a spot at their program, schools have now lessened the weight they carry as a part of the admissions process and high schools have adjusted. Over three hundred colleges and universities no longer require students to submit standardized test scores as a part of the admissions process including schools like American University, Hamilton College, numerous state schools, and a majority of NESCAC schools including Trinity College. The value of the SAT has been compromised by the advantages of richer students whose families can afford for them to spend thousands of dollars on classes outside of school that specifically teach them how to do well on the SAT, and colleges have began looking more at a student’s GPA, extracurricular activities, and personal essays. While most colleges still hold the SAT in high regard, some high schools have began adjusting their methods so as to not stress out students as they prepare for the SAT. When I spoke with Stephen Wallace he said he found that most students are stressed out by the SAT, and while this is not a new pattern by any means, he believes that teaching directly to the test does not necessarily guarantee higher test scores. What students need is the ability to diversify their education in order to maintain an interest in school and remain motivated.
In 2005, the SAT made a major modification to the test that changed what students had to learn and allowed teachers to instruct more traditional English lessons and away from an entirely test oriented environment. The addition of the writing section forced students to learn how to properly write a major essay instead of being able to identify a grammatically correct statement or a vocabulary word.
Gewertz, Catherine. “SAT Scores: A Gauge of College Readiness?” Www.edweek.com. 14 Sept. 2011. Web. 1 Apr. 2012.
Robelen, Erik. “Budget Pact Deals Blow to Literacy, History Programs.”Www.edweek.com. 13 Apr. 2011. Web.
Wallace, Stephen Gray: Former CEO of Students Against Destructive Decisions. Author The Reality Gap.