College Board Proposes SAT Overhaul
In a bid to avoid losing the University of California as a customer, the head of the College Board has proposed overhauling the SAT I test after university officials criticized the exam and announced they were considering dropping it as an admissions standard.
Gaston Caperton, president of the New York-based testing company, says as much as half the test could change, including replacing vocabulary analogies in favor of an essay section and testing students’ knowledge of calculus and algebra II.
Those areas had been identified by a University of California faculty committee as needing change.
Caperton says the board would meet with high school and university officials over the next few months to discuss the revisions, which would mark the most extensive changes to the test in decades.
The announcement marks the latest turn in the university’s ongoing debate over whether to continue using the test as the admissions exam for the 175,000-student system.
University President Richard Atkinson shocked the academic world last year by suggesting the system drop the SAT I and instead use a curriculum-based test to measure how well the state’s students had mastered what they were taught in school (see Black Issues, March 15, 2001).
Atkinson said the SAT I tested vague and ill-defined notions of aptitude for which students could not prepare. His office praised Caperton’s proposal.
Critics say Atkinson is trying to change tests to get around California’s ban on affirmative action. But opponents of the SAT I exam say it is biased in favor of children of affluent and well-educated families.
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