The Modern Condition

New SAT Redesigns Scoring Method, Vocabulary Section, Does Nothing to Mitigate Inherent Socioeconomic Disparities

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This past weekend saw the first administration of the new and improved SAT examination, a standardized test taken by most high school juniors across the nation to determine which colleges they can get into.

The “new” SAT has a different scoring mechanism, which will not penalize students for guessing, and has changed the Verbal section so that students do not need to learn vocabulary anymore. “It’s useless in this age of thesaurus.com,” said one of the members of the College Board, who helped redesign the test.

It goes without saying that the test is extremely important. “It’s sort of like, the only thing I care about right now,” said DC-area high school junior Julia Halloway. “I want to get into a good school. So I’m going to take the SAT probably like, five times. Until I get the best score I can get.”

Halloway highlights an important aspect of the SAT: students are permitted to sit the exam several times and can send in their highest score to the colleges they apply to. Of course, this is permitted if the student’s family has the means to pay each time. The SAT costs about $30, not including tools like pencils and calculators.

When asked why the redesigned text could not be made cheaper so that more students could take it multiple times in order to have the same opportunities as their wealthier peers to get into the schools of their choice, one test designer shrugged and said, “we’re not here to fix the system. Sad, I know.”

May 16, 2017

About Author

C. LaPara Cailley LaPara is currently an undergraduate at George Washington working towards a BA in International Affairs and English, with a minor in Creative Writing. She spends most of her time providing comic relief to the pressures of this highly competitive city, even if she’s the only one laughing. Her comic relief outlets include being a writer for The Collard and the founder of an on-campus comedy-writing group. Other hobbies include writing, reading, sleeping (if there’s time), Gilmore Girls, running, and making up songs in weird voices about whatever she’s doing in that moment. Her roommate loves her for it


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