Thursday, July 06, 2006

SAT Scoring Errors

1) The decision to make known only the scoring errors that resulted in lower scores and to suppress scores for those who were too high was a political not an educational decision. Of the seven students we had who had scoring errors reported to us, only two were truly affected for the other 5 already had previous scores which were higher than the re-scored test. There is likely a higher percentage of students who scores were artificially inflated who are affected than those with aftificially low scores (if our percentages are typical).

2) There may be students who received scholarhips or admissions based on a numerical selection index who received a benefit that they were not qualified for. I cannot see a college withdrawing a scholarship or offer of admission from these students, but some organizations or schools might expand opportunities for other students to take into account "unqualified" students receiving awards or admissions (whether using scores in this way is appropriate or sound is another whole topic of conversation).

3) By only reporting those students whose scores were originally too low makes public relations sense but not educational sense. Obviously there would be less of an outcry from students, parents and ultimately lawyers from students who received corrected high scores than those who received corrected low scores. Yet if the purpose of the SAT is to help students and colleges in a matching process, then the decision to only report the high scores makes a mockery of this test. It supports the notion of college admissions as a beauty contest more than finding the best match. Obviously, if the College Board has reported scores for a student which were artificially too high and the SAT helps improve, with the transcript, a prediction of who will be successful in college, than that student with artificially high scores is being done a disservice. Both the student AND the college may be basing decisions on incorrect information. If there is any credibility of the validity of the SAT, the College Board would released all incorrect scores, high or low. Not doing so makes a mockery of the claim that the SAT is only a tool for colleges to aid in selecting students and for students to select appropriate colleges and further promotes higher SAT's as a goal unto itself, a notion all to common with students and parents.

4) On the comment of the scoring error being a "stone in the shoe"...I think is should be viewed more a club to the head. It should be a wake up call to the College Board that there are serious qualms about the credibility of the College Board. With ill advised decisions to become a for profit company to doing a total reversal on SAT prep (at first claiiming its lack of effectiveness to then actually developing its own SAT prep materials), the College Board is losing the hearts and minds of the college admissions community and to students and parents. It is not just one more blow to blow to their reputation but it could not come at a worse time for the SAT I Writing Test. I believe this may be the death knell for wider acceptance of this test. Many colleges have been sitting on the fence about whether to use this score in admissions and more and more seem to be deciding to not give it the same weight as the reading and math sections and many more are rejecting its use altogether. It is time to do as the ACT does and make this test section optional so that market forces can determine its use rather than it being shoved down the throats of colleges and students.

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