Sunday, April 12, 2009

New SAT Policy Can Keep Low Scores From Reaching Colleges

This from the Washington Post:

Teens Who Retest Will Choose What to Report;
Critics Say Rule Full of Flaws

Legions of high school students equipped with No. 2 pencils have done battle with the SAT, but a new policy is easing the stress for college-bound teenagers. If they take the test more than once, they can send their favorite set of scores with applications and ignore the rest.

Before the policy took effect last month, students had no option: All their SAT scores were reported when they applied to college.

The first time Gabby Ubilla took the test, she said, she fared well on the verbal section but was dissatisfied with her math score. The College Board's "score choice" policy will allow her to push the reset button with most colleges.

"Now that I know what I need to study and what's on the test, I can study different types of math questions" without worrying about the old score, said Ubilla, 16, an 11th-grader at Dominion High School in Sterling.

But critics say score choice encourages students to take the test as many times as they want without consequence, giving an unfair edge to the wealthy and injecting an additional level of strategy into an admissions process that can already feel like a cabalistic ritual.

Some question whether the change was made simply to compete with the ACT, the other major admissions test, which has been gaining market share in recent years and has had a de facto score-choice policy...

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