SAT Infographic

Pro: Con:
By: Lia Tian
By: Kelly Zhou

 Many elements of the redesigned SAT may seem confusing to students for now, but the changes will be ultimately beneficial. In recent years, American students have shown less than stellar performance on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the US ranked 27th out of 34 countries on the test, despite spending significantly more per student on education. The new SAT test is designed to almost perfectly align with Common Core Standards, which are intended to better equip students with the skills they need. The education system is in dire need of improvement in all areas. By creating standardized tests that more accurately reflects students’ abilities, the government will be able to better adjust public school curriculum to combat the educational deficiencies.

Additionally, the popular culture of expensive test preparation places students who cannot afford such astronomical prices at a great disadvantage. To remediate this problem, College Board is partnering with Khan Academy, a website with free academic resources, to develop interactive test prep material available to all students. This will largely benefit the students living in poor economic environments, who often need more support than those who can afford expensive tutoring. In the long run, the new SAT will equal the playing field for all students, and help raise the standard of education

Just as many of the new Common Core State Standards baffle students, teachers, and parents, so does the College Board’s decision to completely redesign the SAT. The College Board claims to provide an equal opportunity to all students by partnering with Khan Academy to develop new test preparation materials; however, the very nature of the test discriminates against students based on what courses they take in school. In the math section in particular, more advanced concepts, including trigonometry and precalculus will be tested. The new test will favor students who have taken advanced math courses in school, but will not accurately evaluate students who have not taken such courses.

The redesigned SAT is also flawed in the fact that it is very similar to the existing ACT. Currently, the SAT is an alternative to the ACT test, allowing the student to choose the test that better exhibits his or her strengths. According to Princeton Review, ACT questions are more straightforward, but test more advanced concepts, while SAT questions tend to be more confusing because they emphasize the thought process. Now that the tests follow such similar structures, students lose the opportunity to make that choice. The New SAT may align more closely to Common Core Standards, but that does not mean the test is a better evaluation of students’ knowledge and potential.