Richard C. Atkinson and Saul Geiser recently took to the New York Times Op-Ed column to discuss the forthcoming update to the SAT format. Students will take the new test in Spring of 2016 with improvements made in both question style and essay grading. These authors, however, believe that there are still problems.
"While a clear improvement, the revised SAT remains problematic. It will still emphasize speed — quick recall and time management — over subject knowledge. Despite evidence that writing is the single most important skill for success in college, the essay will be optional. (Reading and math will still be required.)"
The authors then go on to describe the merits of "criterion-referenced" tests in which students are measured against pre-determined curriculum standards, not their peers.
The value of modern standardized testing in education has long been debated and I agree that a shift in testing methods are long overdo. Personally, standardized testing has never been my strong suit and it pains me to believe that some of my test results have ever affected the decision of any admissions office. Without any real indication of intelligence, ethics, efforts, or general character, life-altering decisions are regularly made based off students' test scores.
Atkinson and Geiser believe that the time for change is now.
"However, experience with the respected National Assessment of Educational Progress shows that, even without a national curriculum, there is enough similarity across the states to permit development of nationally representative, criterion-referenced exams."
Read their full article here!