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Future Grads Will Be Able to Hide Poor SAT Scores

The College Board plans to debut a new score-reporting system in 2010 that allows students to decide which set of SAT scores to make public to schools.

Anxious high school students have had the luxury of taking the SAT multiple times in attempt to get the best score possible for decades. Colleges and universities have been able to see each attempt, but this new system will allow students to choose whether to show one, some, or all scores to their academic judges.

Apparently, the College Board devised the new system to alleviate test-day stress and build in more choice in the admissions process.

To find out why the changes have created some controversy in the collegiate community,


The result of the change could be that students end up showing colleges a lower overall score by sending only one set. Some educators say they like seeing how students progress on the test throughout their school careers.

Of course, taking the SAT isn't cheap. At $45 a session, students who can afford multiple attempts could have an unfair advantage (even when you factor in fee waivers to help underprivileged students). What do you think of this change? It still sounds less stressful than China's national college entrance exam.


Join The Conversation
janneth janneth 8 years
This makes a lot of sense. And the College Board makes beaucoup bucks on multiple test taking...
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
If you can afford it, DO IT! Definitely. That's my only gripe about taking the community college/transfer route. I didn't get to stay in the dorms or experience any of those things. As far as the typical college experience goes, I missed out. I just lived vicariously through my friends that actually got to go away to school. :) And I don't think it's the only or best way either ;) just happens to be the way I ended up doing it.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
If you can afford it, why not go to a 4-year college right away? For a lot of students, the experience of living on campus and developing close friendships over the course of those four years is a hugely important part of the college experience.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
I'm not saying there's anything wrong with community college, just refuting the idea that it's the only or best way to get general education.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
But it's typically less expensive...and if you can't afford the 4 year college right away, why not save some money and do your educational exploration at a community college?
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
And my degree is in political science and I work in politics, without a master's.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
A large percentage of students at four-year colleges come in without a major or change their major as they go, as well. At my four-year college I took a lot of general education classes, especially my first two years. You can take just as much time figuring out what you need to do at a four-year college as you can at a community college.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
That's true, I think the education itself was beneficial to enriching her life, but she went back to the job she had before she went to college. So I don't see the point of her getting that specific degree, other than to appease her parents.
yesteryear yesteryear 8 years
there is nothing wrong with education for the sake of education (i.e., a philosophy degree, which is pretty much useless in any practical fashion)... but if people want to actually get a job in the field they study in college they will either have to pick a specialized/technical field (NOT liberal studies), or go on to get a masters or other professional degree. to me it makes no sense for more emphasis to be put on passing the SAT than the previous 12 years of education -- has anyone checked out the education stats on US kids lately? we're not doing so hot preparing them for anything.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
Maybe we did amy!! ;) I knew a girl that was majoring in Philosophy. She had no idea what she was going to do with it, just that she needed to get a degree in SOMETHING. I think if she'd taken the time to explore different subjects, take a variety of classes, she would've been able to find a major that suited her. Now she works as a checker at a supermarket. Which pays REALLY well, regardless of your education level! But she hates it. So what's the point?
amybdk amybdk 8 years
Blue! Did we go to school together? "I knew so many people that were majoring in things that weren't going to get them anywhere in life. Now they're out of college, with a Bachelors degree, and no worthwhile profession to show for it." I feel like you are talking about me! My job's alright, but definitely not related to my Bachelor of MUSIC! fantome14, I really appreciate your input on this topic (And Steph too). I did a much better job academically in college than I did in high school. Standardized tests do not fully, accurately measure brains and capability.
MarinerMandy MarinerMandy 8 years
Wow, I must have been a huge slacker. I only took them once and left it at that! I guess I just didn't buy into the whole college stress thing.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
And as far as the SAT's were concerned, I took them twice, and they didn't have any effect on my career path.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
"i think more people should do the same... you save money, you get a couple years to "figure things out", and with 2 years spent studying general ed you get a better idea of what it is you really want to do rather than just picking whatever seems cool when youre 18, or what your parents want you to do." I definitely agree on that. I was one of those kids that went to a junior college, spent a few years there taking all kinds of random classes until I was sure where I wanted to go with my degree. THEN I transferred to a 4 year college to complete my degree. Once I was there, I knew so many people that were majoring in things that weren't going to get them anywhere in life. Now they're out of college, with a Bachelors degree, and no worthwhile profession to show for it.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
I absolutely agree with UD>
fantome14 fantome14 8 years
Speaking as someone who teaches college kids, I have to say that the SATs are not the best predictor of how kid will do--especially since you can be taught to beat the test. On the other hand, kids from poorer homes/school districts may be perfectly capable of doing college work but did not have the advantage of taking courses. So the SAT scores are influenced by class/wealth factors, like so many other education-related things. I taught a class of kids who were sorted by SAT score into a Basic Writing class rather than standard Freshman Comp. However, they were all capable enough so I ended up teaching them no differently, really. In most cases, they had come from the worse school districts and had not had a lot of SAT prep, but they were smart. In my Comp class during the same semester, I had kids who would have been better off in Basic Writing. My school is in the process of changing its core so that there will be two semesters of writing, and hopefully they will not determine who goes where based on SAT scores.
kathili kathili 8 years
I took the SATs every year from 7th to 11th grade. The first 3 years were for a summer program, and by 10th grade I'd gotten enough practice that I figured I might as well take for college one last time. Though I did well, alas, the New SAT rolled out. Through all of this, I never really thought much about whether it would look bad to colleges. College admissions can be such a crapshoot anyway, and so many other factors go in.
DanaLikeWhoa DanaLikeWhoa 8 years
The whole point of the SATs is to figure out someone's ability at a standardized level. If somebody takes it one time and gets a certain score, and another person keeps taking it until they get that score, who deserves to get into a more competitive school? This just makes admissions even harder for the kids who deserve to go to the more competitive schools. I only took the SATs once (not including the 7th and 8th grade ones, which were for a totally different purpose and didn't get sent to colleges). I took them in the beginning of my junior year and although I didn't get a perfect score, I did well enough that I figured I'd be fine in admissions (which I was). I think that colleges seeing that I took them only once (and earlier than most people) and did just as well helped me out. I'm sorry that kids in the future won't be able to have this advantage.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
The SATs have turned into an economy in unto themselves. I didn't study for them at all and I took them once. Meanwhile, I was up against people who had been in classes since they were like 12! They're given way too much importance. I can see some poor kids getting sent back in there over and over until they reach a certain level dictated by their parents. I mean hey, if you can take them as many times as you want, why not? I'm not a fan of this at all.
yesteryear yesteryear 8 years
good! i think its too hard for kids these days as it is... preparing for college in 6th grade?? what ever happened to having a fun childhood? i didnt even take the SAT. i went to junior college and transferred to a four year college when i was ready. and i still ended up with a really good job in a good organization. i think more people should do the same... you save money, you get a couple years to "figure things out", and with 2 years spent studying general ed you get a better idea of what it is you really want to do rather than just picking whatever seems cool when youre 18, or what your parents want you to do. on a related note - we need to do a better job of teaching kids that there are other career paths than just college. we have a serious worker shortage coming up as baby boomers retire - and with a bunch of young people who've been taught their entire lives that they HAVE to go to college and get multiple degrees. we need people who know how to do construction, electrician work, auto repair... and all of the other trades as well.
em1282 em1282 8 years
I completely agree with UD. As someone who was under a lot of stress to do well on my SATs (and is consistently under stress from different sources to do well in lots of other areas...) I just feel that stuff like this dumbs down the general population...
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
I'm not sure I like this. Part of being in college and being an adult is working under stress. If you can't perform under stress, then there are many careers you shouldn't be going into. Since the scores also include the dates they were taken, the admissions dept can tell how old the applicant was when the test was taken, and can also tell if they took the test a number of times in a row, or if they took the test in 6th, 8th, and 10th grades. I would rather see the person who was working towards their college admissions in 6th grade be rewarded for their effort, than the guy who blew it off twice be able to hide his failed efforts because he stayed up to late, or whatever.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
well i think that there's something to be said about showing only the best scores since that's what you're going for. i think that having the schools with the ability to see all scores - they don't know the context in which you took those exams...ya know? for myself - i took them for the first time in 8th grade because my brothers were taking them and i wanted to see how i would compare. my scores were decent, but not at all what they were when i took them 'for real' as a junior.
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