Letter to the Editor of Time Magazine Responding to Story About Proposed Changes to the SAT

Monday, October 27, 2003

The following letter was sent in response to the TIME article "Inside the New SAT Test" that appeared online 10/27/03.

To the Editor:

The changes to the SAT may or may not have a positive impact on high school curricula and on students' preparation to succeed in college ("Inside the New SATs," October 27, 2003). What high school teachers and guidance counselors, and prospective college students and their parents need to know, however, is that successful performance, both in college and in life, depends on the ability to translate one's knowledge and skill to new problems--problems that haven't yet been "scripted." Assessments of students' learning both in high school and college should focus far more than they do on students' ability to deal with unscripted problems, and not just on their ability to find (or guess) the one right answer. The Association of American Colleges and Universities has recommended that every high school senior should complete a culminating, substantial, independent project to help them integrate what they have learned over the course of high school and to demonstrate their readiness for college study. What a difference it would make if admissions offices actually set greater expectations and if high school curricula were designed to help students meet them. Standardized testing should never be the primary focus of a student's journey to college.

Carol Geary Schneider
Association of American Colleges and Universities

Carol Geary Schneider