The SAT: Questions and Answers
What Is the SAT?
The SAT Reasoning Test is this nation's oldest, most widely used -- and misused -- college entrance exam. The SAT is composed of three sections, "Critical Reading," "Mathematics," and "Writing," each scored on a 200-800 point scale. The 171 questions are nearly all multiple-choice; the exam now includes one brief essay, and ten math questions require students to "grid in" the answer. By design, the test is "speeded" which means that many test takers are unable to finish all the questions. The SAT Subject Tests, formerly "Achievement Tests", are one-hour subject exams, entirely in a multiple-choice format. The Educational Testing Service (ETS), under contract to the College Board, is the primary producer and administrator of the SAT. Pearson Educational Measurement is responsible for scoring multiple-choice items and the essay.
What Does SAT Stand For?
Nothing. Initially titled the Scholastic Aptitude Test and then the Scholastic Assessment Test, it is now officially named just SAT because of uneasiness at ETS and the College Board about defining just what the test measures. "SATs not an initialism; it does not stand for anything," say the test-makers.
What Is On the SAT?
A direct descendant of the racist anti-immigrant Army Mental Tests of the 1920s, the SAT was first administered in 1926 but did not become a largely multiple-choice exam until after World War II. The test is designed to be independent of high school curricula (unlike the SAT's main competitor, the ACT). It includes questions attempting to measure reading comprehension, vocabulary, basic writing techniques, algebra, geometry, statistics and probability. The SAT does not include advanced mathematics topics nor does it attempt to assess higher-order thinking or reasoning skills.
What Is the SAT Used For?
The SAT is validated for just one purpose: predicting first-year college grades. It does not do even this very well. Test-makers acknowledge that high school grade-point average (GPA) is the best predictors of first-year grades, despite the huge variation among high schools and courses. The SAT predicts more important academic outcomes, such as graduation rates, even more poorly.
What Is the SAT Worth?
A lot. The College Board, which administers the SAT series, collects more than $150 million each year in revenue from the exams. Estimates on the amount of money students spend on SAT prep materials each year reach well over $350 million. This money keeps the College Board and ETS very invested in the continued use of their test.
Reprinted with the permission of the National Center for Fair and Open Testing.
Add your own comment
Today on Education.com
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- The Five Warning Signs of Asperger's Syndrome
- What Makes a School Effective?
- Child Development Theories
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Bullying in Schools
- Test Problems: Seven Reasons Why Standardized Tests Are Not Working
- Should Your Child Be Held Back a Grade? Know Your Rights
- First Grade Sight Words List