SAT changes could benefit students and universities, says local educator

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News 12 This Morning/Friday, March 7, 2014

(WRDW) -- "The whole point of the SAT is to show colleges how prepared a student is to enter their institution," said Matt Johann, guidance counselor at the Academy of Richmond County.

And Johann thinks the changes coming from the SAT overhaul could better help students show their college readiness.

One of those changes includes making the essay portion of the exam optional.

"Currently the ACT has that as an option," Johann explained. "They can take the writing portion or they don't have to. And, if the college they want to go to doesn't require they why are we putting them through that extra stress."

Johann tells me he hopes this SAT overhaul can help students get back to the basics, focusing on the reading and the math portions of the SAT.

"Most colleges only look at the critical reading part and the math part anyway," he said. "They don't necessarily look at that, so why are we putting them through this?"

Another change includes moving from the 2400 point scale back to a 1600 point scale.

Johann says he feels the major benefit from changing back to the 1600 point scale-- is clearing up confusion.

"It turned out to be very confusing because I'd have students who, on the 2400 scale, who'd score a 1600 which is kind of an okay score, but they'd go and tell their mother and mom and daddy would be bragging to the whole world 'oh, they got a 1600!' because in their day that was a perfect score," he explained.

He says the largest benefit for students could be getting a better opportunity to showcase their talents to prospective colleges and universities.

"You may lessen the anxiety on students and you may help colleges have a clearer picture of what it is their getting when they get a student who has whatever score," he said.

The vocabulary portion of the exam is also changing to include more practical words students are more like to be learning in class and using in the workforce.

Many have reached out to News 12 on social media expressing concerns that the test is being "dumbed down."

College Board officials say these changes are aimed at making the test more practical and accurate to testing what students are actually learning.

So, what do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

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