Should SAT Exams Be Definished

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The College Board's decision to make the essay portion of its influential SAT exam optional is setting off a national debate among colleges and universities about whether to require applicants to take it. Beyond the potential effect on students, the March 5 announcement about the upcoming test change is stirring soul-searching about the importance of writing in higher education and how best to evaluate that ability. The new College Board policy also has raised concerns about setting up a possible barrier to college entrance, especially if the separate essay writing exam requires an additional fee. Many colleges will face a serious problem in considering whether to keep mandating the essay test after the change goes into effect in 2016, said Jerome Lucido, executive director of the USC Center for Enrollment Research, Policy, and Practice, a national…show more content…
But others, particularly such highly competitive schools as Stanford and UCLA, value the essay for providing extra insight into students' abilities as well as a cross-check on the veracity of other application materials, Lucido and other experts said. In addition to the SAT essay, which often prompts writers to explore a sociological or philosophical question, many schools require autobiographical compositions in the online Common Application ("Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you?"). In addition, some campuses require supplemental essays that attempt to learn whether the student would be a good fit for that particular school. Questions may be raised about assistance from parents or paid coaches if students submit an elegant autobiographical statement with their applications but score poorly on the proctored SAT essay, they said. Unknown to many students, colleges not only receive scores but also can examine the actual

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