The Demise of The College Entrance Exam? You Decide
The Question: Is The SAT Fair?
The SAT and other standardized college entrance exams here in the US have been criticized for some of their questions. A researcher wanted to find out if the questions on the SAT were fair to all college students.
And when he said, he meant that he thought that some groups might not have the same vocabularies as other ethnic or racial groups. He decided to look at the test results for the different groups to see if they had different scores.
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How to Tell
You can take the SAT apart by types of questions. The math section doesn’t use much vocabulary, for example. If a math question uses the word is, it usually means equals.
Or you might just have an equation and an unknown. So you solve it, and go on to the next question. Because math has a more defined language, the study skipped these questions.
But the vocabulary section doesn’t work that way. In vocab, you have to know the meaning of the words to answer the question or you have to guess. For some, the words may not have the same meanings as others.
The Study Looks Deeper
By studying the vocabulary involved, the researchers in 2 studies found that African Americans can be at a disadvantage in some questions. This resulted in lower scores for this group of students.
The College Board, which creates the test, counters this idea with another concept. The Board says that the unequal test scores come from unequal educations, not the ethnic groups.
In other words, the schools the kids attended caused the problem, not the test.
A second study took the same questions and looked at them with different versions of the college entrance exam. That study also found the same results.
By the way, no inequities were found for Latin American students.
If you worry about your test taking, first check out this test taking skills page for some pointers.
Next, you should also look at list of schools that do not require the SAT to get accepted. Check the foot notes – some require it for certain programs, others use it only for placement but not for acceptance into the school, and so on.
This page has a list of colleges and universities that you can apply to without taking the SAT college entrance exam in most cases. You might recognize many of the colleges on the list. Many are big names, like the California state university schools as well as many more across the country.
I think many students don’t realize how many options they have. This list has over 800 schools that don’t use the SAT to accept a large proportion of their student body.
While you can learn to take the SAT better and score higher on your college entrance exam, you can also skip it altogether. If you don’t want to take it, take a look at this list. Apply to a few of these schools and see if you like them.