Will the Revised PSAT & SAT Create More Equality in Testing?
Revisions to the PSAT & SAT, rolling out this month and next spring respectively, are an attempt to negate some of the inequities in standardized testing and level the college admissions playing field. According to the Christan Science Monitor, the SAT is serious about reducing the opportunity gap, and reports that “major changes include more vocabulary in context and a focus on critical thinking: students are asked to analyze texts’ use of evidence, particularly in the optional, but more demanding, essay that replaces the 2005 revamp’s brief, opinion-based essay . . . “
Testing is a subject that evokes a variety of strong reactions. Many educators and parents are uncomfortable that a multi-billion dollar industry determines much about students’ futures while falsely assuming they have equal access to high-quality programs and an abundance of resources. We share the same discomfort and that’s why we strive to bring Great Books, a program proven to increase critical thinking, reading, and comprehension skills, to all students as a part of their curriculum. Disadvantaged students—those living in economically strained communities—are especially deserving of our efforts and we’re proud when Great Books makes a meaningful difference in their academic lives. New results from District of Columbia public schools demonstrate how Great Books programs improve performance in low-proficient and far-below-proficient students, and we’re hopeful such increases will help them when they take possibly life-altering tests such as the SAT.
We’re grateful SAT wants to level the testing playing field, and we look forward to hearing how students and teachers feel about the revised tests. For our part, we’ll continue to advocate that all students deserve access to high-quality, inquiry-based programs like Great Books.