Should the SAT be changed again?

<p>This has been on my mind for awhile, and I wanted to hear what other people thought. Put simply, I think the SAT is flawed. The key problem I see, is that it loses validity at the upper levels. By this I mean that on the SAT, all 800 math's must be viewed as the same, but they're often not the same. For instance, a friend of mine is mathematical whiz. I'm fairly sure he could have managed an 800 in 8th grade. On the the November SAT he timed himself on the math sections and managed to finish each math section in 10 mins or less, bubbling included. 10 mins, out of the alloted 30, and i'm sure he managed an 800 (he already has an 800 math but was re-taking to improve his verbal). I on the other hand took about 18-24 mins for each math section on the SAT. I managed an 800 too, but I would say that his 800 is far more impressive. Yet, to colleges, we both look the same in terms of mathematical ability. </p>

<p>The verbal has similar problems. Another friend of mine scored a 750+ (he won't tell me the exact score, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was an 800) in the 8th grade, and then an 800 in Junior year. I managed a 620 in 8th grade, and a 770 in 11th (I could have scored 800 as I'd done so on 5 of the 6 practice tests I took). He is clearly much stronger in verbal, yet to colleges the difference between us looks marginal. Basically I think the test needs to be harder. My verbally inclined friend could undoubtedly score 750+ on the GRE verbal (very tough to do) yet it's impossible for colleges to see the true extent of his talent. In my opinion, colleges are able to reject so many 1600's, because it's not unbelieveably tough to manage. Back when a handful of students scored a 1600 each year, colleges undoubtedly found it much more difficult to reject a perfect scorer. Now, I realize that the test was made "easier" in the early 90's because the average score was in the mid 800's, and minorities and other groups were doing terribly. This is certainly a problem, but I don't see why colleges couldn't just take into account the difficulty of the test. If the average is 850, and 1400 is 99%, then colleges should just adjust accordingly. I don't see why it'd be a problem to create a test that actually reaches the upper extremes of ability. Any thoughts?</p>

<p>1400 is not 99%, is it? plus, i kinda of agree with ya, b/c i have an 800 in math, i did it in like 8-9min per section, yet on verbal, i only got 600. i do believe that my 800 is pretty impressive, but then again, the SAT I math isn't mean to challenge anyone, i mean in some countries, you learn all that stuff in grade 4 or 5, so i guess it's not really a challenge. so the SAT is pretty fair and balanced right?</p>

<p>I meant that if they were make the test more difficult, then maybe a 1400 would be 99% (I believe like 1490 is 99% now), and it wouldn't be a big deal as long as colleges adjusted. 1400 used to be a great score (for schools like HYPS), and I think the SAT would be much improved if it was again. And I would argue that though the SAT is balanced, it's not really fair to the truly extraordinary talents of the world. The people who are the best of the best (like 1 in 100,000) can't really differentiate themselves from those who are close to the best.</p>

<p>The test is designed to measure every college bound student in the country. If you took a high intensive test that measured the varying degrees of genius level, you would see a difference between you and your friend. But I agree, 1400 should be 99 not 1480.</p>

<p>Just because you can do a section faster than anyone does not mean at all you're more gifted than another. I mean, I'm done practically all my 50 minute tests in 20 minutes and my rank isn't that great at all (12/220). And it's not a I'm rushing thing - I just think things quickly... however I sometimes think the wrong things :)</p>

<p>If the SAT was all trig, precalc and crazy multistep problems... what could average joe do except guess and hope for the best? Perhaps a new test could be made for top students only... one where it's practically impossible to get a perfect score....but thats pretty elitist, and it would be extremely competitive and cutthroat me thinks.</p>

<p>Chocoman, I understand your point, but I'd have to disagree about finishing tests early. The ability to think fast is a crucial part of intelligence. If it weren't, IQ tests wouldn't be timed. Those who manage to finish the math sections in 10 minutes and get 800's, are by and large, more gifted at math then those who take the whole 30 and get 800's. And my suggestion isn't that the test should have hugely advanced material. Personally, I think the best solution would be a mix between the SAT and the ACT. The ACT math is known for taking a long amount of time to finish, yet it is a fairly straightforward test. Their aren't any tricks, and if you know how to solve a particular problem, you'll get it right. I think the best test would on the ACT's level in terms of time constraints and actual difficulty of material (it should go up to algebra II), but as tricky as the SAT is. I don't think this would be very elitist. It would just provide an outlet for the truly gifted to "show their stuff".</p>

<p>The SAT isn't meant to measure supergenius. If your friend is a math wiz, there are plenty of ways for him to show it, by being on a math team/club, being in advanced math classes, entering math fairs, entering math competitions/olympiads that would have more weight than a sat score.</p>

<p>Also, the SAT is designed so a certain percentage (i forget it buts its really high) of people don't finish in time or have to rush to finish.</p>

<p>Speed of computation does not necessarily correlate with intelligence. That is what psychometrists (people who make up psychological tests) would like us to believe, but they often do not know any more about what constitutes TRUE intelligence than the rest of us. Perhaps speed to a CERTAIN extent corresponds to intelligence, but I would argue that there is no clear difference between a person finishing an SAT math section in 15 minutes versus one finishing it in 30 minutes, with both scoring 800s.</p>

<p>I think the SAT scale is fairly useful right now. It still provides enough differentiation at the top end of the scale to separate the top students from the nearly top students. It is already tough enough to score an 800. For a comparison, look at the GRE math scale, where an 800 is only 92nd percentile! Now THAT is a poorly designed scale (and the work of ETS also).</p>

<p>Additionally, students have other means of demonstrating extraordinary mathematical talent. If you were truly good in math, you should be able to pass the AMC-12 and possibly move onto the AIME and USAMO. At the very least, you can distinguish yourself by taking part in some local math competitions and winning some local/regional awards.</p>