SAT improves

Theresa Edwards

High schoolers have to write essays, perform higher-level math

The SATs, which high school students used to know well, have changed.

These changes were necessary, to better reflect what students learn in high school, said Caren Scoropanos, associate director of public affairs of the College Board.

It also sends a message about the importance of writing in education and business, she said. The College Board is an organization of 4,500 schools, universities and colleges that has created the new SAT exam, which was first given to students Saturday.

The new exam replaces the old one and also provides consistency.

“If a student applies to 10 schools and has to take 10 entrance exams, there’s no consistency,” Scoropanos said.

More than 330,000 students nationally took the new exam Saturday, according to Scoropanos.

The changes to the SAT include the addition of a written essay, short reading sections and new higher-level math problems. Analogies and quantitative comparisons were eliminated, and the price of taking the exam was raised from $29.50 to $41.50.

College Board provides students with the ability to prepare by offering free practice questions, sample tests, tips and other official SAT study material that students can purchase.

Guidance counselors at high schools prepare students for the new exam, he said, and information on the new exam is also posted on their Web site at

As far as Kent State is concerned, the university will accept the highest score from any exam an applicant has taken.

“Some people could be turned down due to a score on the old test,” University Admissions Counselor Kjera Melton said. If they take the new test and get a better score and meet a requirement not previously met, we could admit them based on availability.”

Melton recommends students take the new SAT exam because it could benefit the student.

However, if a student takes the new SAT exam and their score is not as good compared to a previously administered SAT exam, Melton said, the university will accept the better score.

Melton sees more SAT exams submitted by students from Pennsylvania and New York than Ohio, she said.

Kent State recommends the exam, but some schools, like Lawrence University in Wisconsin, did away with all standardized entrance exams for admission.

Starting the 2006-07 academic year, Lawrence will no longer require students to submit SAT or ACT scores for admission consideration.

“We’ve basically decided to say ‘enough already,’” said Steve Syverson, dean of admissions and financial aid at Lawrence University, in a press release.

“The recent introduction of the additional writing segments for both the SAT and ACT has further raised the level of confusion, angst and expense already associated with the admission process.”

Students applying to Lawrence still have the option of submitting standardized test scores.

“Their choice of courses and record of achievement over four years of high school provides a much better indication of their ability to survive the academic rigors of Lawrence than do the results of a three-hour test taken on some Saturday morning,” Syverson said.

Lawrence isn’t the only school to dismiss the entrance exams. According to Lawrence’s press release, other liberal arts colleges adopted test-optional admission policies.

Contact general assignment reporter Theresa Edwards at [email protected].