Image description
Jillian Youngblood
Noodle Expert Member

December 18, 2019

What would a better SAT look like?

Think the newly redesigned SAT means progress? Think again, says Noodle CEO John Katzman. Here’s a round-up of Noodle in the news, talking about what’s wrong with the SAT and how we can replace it:

The Kelly File Megyn Kelly of Fox News asks John if the College Board’s recent changes to the SAT have made it a better test. The answer? No. These are small tweaks, and really just make the SAT a bit more like its competitor, the ACT. The new SAT will actually make it even more biased. The test already underpredicts the performance of women in college, and with the removal of the essay section, that bias will be even more pronounced.

Washington Post Every 12 years, the president of the College Board announces important new changes that will better align the SAT to high school curricula and promote reading and writing. Yet the test still fails, and these changes are unlikely to help it pass. Like Phil Connors in Groundhog Day, The College Board is stuck in one place and every day is exactly the same, and nothing that it does matters. What would a meaningful improvement look like? Curriculum would drive college admissions testing, not the other way around.

MSNBC When I founded The Princeton Review in 1981, I worked with many very smart students with weak test scores. But somehow, their math and English skills just weren’t translating into success on this particular test. The more we looked, the less the test seemed to have anything to do with a high school curriculum or anything that would help you perform well in college. In the end, the SAT was a mediocre test of middle school skills with a layer of gamesmanship that advantaged certain kinds of thinking over others. And that’s when we realized the whole thing was a scam.

New England Journal of Higher Education I’m not against tests; I’m just against bad tests. The College Board and ACT add over $500 million a year to the cost of applying to college. Since the utility of the tests is largely limited to the 800,000 high-achieving students headed to selective schools, these organizations are costing each one of those students a $1,200 fee—and that’s before the additional expense of test prep. Imagine an organization responsible for devising and maintaining a meaningful admissions ecosystem, which would be evaluated annually by its ability to improve the fit between students and schools (as measured by high graduation and low transfer rates) while lowering the cost and stress of the admissions process. This new organization would neither administer tests nor profit from them; it would simply be a coordinating body funded by participating schools.

Newsweek “I think it’s time to really think about the fact that we’ve put college admissions in the hands of these people—and they’ve been utterly unaccountable," said Katzman, who more recently founded the educational search and recommendation engine Noodle Education. “When you say to them, ‘Boy, this is a pretty terrible process,’ they look at you as if you’re crazy for suggesting that they’re to blame. It’s like the driver of a car saying, ‘Why would you hold me accountable for crashing into a wall?’"