THE HIGH TIDE

Which Word Best Replaces ‘Scandal’


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The Scholastic Aptitude Test, better known by its infamous acronym SAT, has faced a great deal of news press since August. The SAT has resided in students’ daily dialogues since its creation in 1926. However, 2018 has proven to be most unfavorable for the test some love and some despise but is for all the gateway to college.

 

The words “June SAT” are now connotated with much negativity from its test takers. The word that circulates student bodies is that the summer test is deemed to be easier than the rest throughout the year due to higher student turnout. This take on how the test is created is solely created by students and their analysis of past test patterns, nothing solidified by the College Board. Thus, in June when the scores were released to all summer goers, many students noticed something was off. The number of questions missed compared to previous tests was disproportionate, however, overall scores did not differ much if not at all. Each case differed: some students saw their scores decrease even answering more questions correctly or some students saw their scores barley increase although their performance on sections greatly improved. Now, any common SAT taker who is well versed in College Board’s ways would tell the masses of students that are unhappy that this is the common test-taking factor of curving or “equating” as the College Board called it in many response emails. Here’s how it works: each test administered has ranging difficulty levels. Thus, the curve differs in each score distribution. In one typical test, missing 5 questions across the two math sections might lower a student’s score from a highly desired 800 to a 760. In another, the same number of errors might only lower the score to a 780.

So, if this is a common occurrence why was there an uproar over the particular test in June? Two reasons can be credited: the first being that since the test remake in 2016, this was by far the steepest curve administered. Hence, many students felt its effects and were unsatisfied. Secondly, in addition to the steep curve, four items were removed from the verbal section of the test ( two from the Reading section, and two from the Writing and Language Section). The abundance of differences from this one test to the others administered throughout the year screamed unfair to many students who tend to score higher on this test.

As that the test in 4 months past, the College Board responded back in June that the scores were deemed accurate and no changes would be made. Leaving a bad taste in many students’ mouths would not stop them from continually testing to get the best results for their college admissions. Hence, the College Board would be expected to learn from this deep curve and better level each test to distance itself from future large public outcries.

 

Until the test in August.

 

The August 15th test had not even been administered before another scandal had broken out. Well, technically. The August SAT did not suffer from steep curves or questions removed. It did suffer from leakage months in advance. A leaked SAT would require some student or adult getting their hands on it before the testing day and releasing it on the internet, right? Actually, the College Board is known to recycle tests. Different countries will take the test at different times, hence in Asia in October 2017, and will recycle them later in a different country. It is not unusual for some test questions to be reused, as many professionals have stated. However, this test was not one mixed with new and old, it was a complete replica of the one given in Asia (particularly South Korea and China) and the test that was online for months prior to that Saturday in August.

 

So, the College Board suffered two scandal-ridden tests back to back. The October test just concluded and scores are on their way. No scent of a problem has arisen yet. Common speculations of score curving are coursing through as they always are pre-score release. College Board suffering a three-peat is just something all test goers will have wait until October 19th for.

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