|Back to Oct. Ed Reporter|
|NUMBER 225||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||OCTOBER 2004|
|New SAT May Not Boost Minority Scores After All|
Pressured by the University of California system, the College Board announced changes two years ago to address criticisms that the critical-reasoning focus of the old SAT disadvantaged low-income and minority students. The changes included dropping analogies in the verbal section, adding Algebra II questions to the math section, and adding a writing exam. The hope was that making the test more like an achievement test of classroom learning would enhance the scores of minority students.
However, fewer than a third of black students take the more-advanced math courses that would help with the new test, as compared with about half of whites and almost two-thirds of Asian-Americans. Moreover, it is not clear that schools will be able to prepare minority students adequately for the writing test.
The SAT score gap between whites and African-Americans averages 202 points out of a possible 1200 points. Between whites and Hispanics, the gap is 133 points. (Wall Street Journal, 9-1-04)
One wonders, then, why the College Board was forced to go through the exercise of redesigning the tests. The new writing section will include a 25-minute handwritten essay which, in addition to being very expensive to grade and impossible to evaluate in a uniform, objective manner nationwide, may penalize students with sloppy penmanship and/or politically incorrect views.