Cross post from Jon Pelto's Wait What?
Starting in March 2016, students taking the SAT College Admission Exam will be given the NEW Common Core aligned SAT test rather than the version that students have been taking over the years.
David Coleman, who was the primary "author" of the Common Core, is now the President of the College Board, the organization that develops and overseas the SAT. Last Spring, Coleman announced that a new SAT would be introduced in 2016. According to Coleman and the College Board,
"The SAT and SAT Subject Tests are designed to assess your academic readiness for college. These exams provide a path to opportunities, financial support, and scholarships, in a way that's fair to all students. The SAT and SAT Subject Tests keep pace with what colleges are looking for today, measuring the skills required for success in the 21st century."
In other words, according to this gigantic standardized testing company that collects hundreds of millions of dollars a year from students, parents, schools, school districts and state and local governments, getting a high score on the SAT is the key to getting into and paying for college.
What Coleman and the Education Reform Industry is not telling parents is that the NEW Common Core aligned SAT, like the Common Core Smarter Balanced Consortium SBAC test and other Common Core Testing schemes will include content that most students have not been taught.
The truth is that many students who take the NEW SAT may be stunned when they receive SAT scores that are far lower than they would have otherwise expected.
The impact could be will be especially significant and unfair for this year's high school juniors who are taking the SAT's this spring as part of their college application process.
BUT THERE IS SOMETHING THAT PARENTS CAN AND SHOULD DO;
Hopefully parents of this year's high school juniors have already heard the news from their high school's guidance department, but according to the guidance counselors at E.O. Smith High School in Storrs, Connecticut;
"Current 11th graders are strongly encouraged to take the CURRENT SAT before the NEW SAT comes out in March. Colleges will continue to accept SAT scores earned prior to the NEW SAT rollout. In this way, students may also take the NEW SAT and compare scores, submitting the set of scores that is more favorable. This option (using the current SAT scores) will not be available to younger students. In other words, students in the Class of 2017 will be the last to have the option of using scores earned on the current SAT."
While the existing SAT has more than its share of problems, experts are reporting that by aligning the NEW SAT to the so-called Common Core standards, students will need to have successfully completed Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II, as well as Pre-Calculus, Trigonometry or Probability and Statistics in order to get a co-called "college ready" score on the math portion of the new SAT standardized test.
However, as noted, many, if not most, high school juniors will not have taken the "advanced courses" that are needed in order to get a higher school on the NEW SAT.
While some high students are provided the opportunity to take advanced math course, the State of Connecticut requirement that students even have four years of math doesn't take effect until the graduating class of 2018, ensuring that many students who graduate in 2016 and 2017 don't have the necessary background to "succeed" on the NEW SAT and those graduating in 2018 and beyond may have four years of math, but may not have been taught the concepts needed to successfully take the NEW SAT.
The rush to a Test and Punish system of public education is putting today's students at risk and policymakers in Connecticut and across the country are making things far worse, not better, as the Corporate Education Reform Industry laughs all the way to the bank.
In states like Florida and Texas, once proponents of the Common Core, governors and legislatures are actually moving in exactly the opposite direction by eliminating the requirement that students even have to take Algebra 2, let alone study more advanced math courses, in order meet graduate requirements.
While Connecticut is moving toward the requirement that students take four years of math, Governor Dannel Malloy's uncompromising support for the Common Core and Common Core Testing scheme is actually undermining public schools students who are caught during the "transition" to the higher standards.
Just yesterday Governor Malloy, his Commissioner of Education and a handful of key legislators held a press conference at a West Hartford High School to congratulate themselves on promoting a testing system that will actually hurt many Connecticut students.
Governor Malloy's press release read;
"Governor Dannel P. Malloy today joined State Department of Education (SDE) Commissioner Dianna R. Wentzell, State Senator Beth Bye (D-West Hartford), and State Representative Andy Fleischmann (D-West Hartford) at Conard High School in West Hartford, where they highlighted the state's plan to replace the 11th Grade Smarter Balance Assessment - or SBAC exam - with the SAT later this school year. This plan represents an important milestone in Governor Malloy's commitment to reduce the amount of standardized testing for public high school students and ensure that all students are prepared to succeed in college and careers."
The notion that Dannel Malloy, a champion of the Common Core and the Common Core testing scheme is committed to reducing the amount of standardized testing for public school students is utterly absurd.
But equally distressing is the fact Malloy and his State Department of Education, along with the help of the Connecticut General Assembly are seeking to force all Connecticut 11th graders to take the NEW, untested and unproven SAT that, like the SBAC Test, is designed to fail huge numbers of Connecticut students.
What isn't clear is whether their headlong rush to mandate the use of the NEW SAT is due to their ignorance, their desire to divert scarce public funds to massive education testing and corporate education reform companies or their complete unwillingness to understand how to help, not hurt, Connecticut's students and parents.
While the NEW SAT will make its appearance in all of Connecticut's high schools in March, the truly unsettling reality is that the Connecticut General Assembly passed and Governor Malloy signed into law a requirement that every high school junior take the NEW SAT next spring and that those students be judged by a test that is being redesigned and aligned to the Common Core, that no one has seen and that will almost certainly test students on content that they haven't even learned.
Furthermore, as result of Governor Malloy's "education reform" initiative, high school teachers in Connecticut will then be "evaluated" on how well their students do on this NEW Common Core aligned SAT.
Early this year, the Atlantic Monthly Magazine highlighted some of the problems with the "NEW" SAT in an article entitled New SAT, New Problems. The piece focused on the fact that the "NEW" SAT's math section would likely put many students at a significant disadvantage when it comes to getting into college.
Why? Because, as the magazine reported, the NEW SAT will include a significant amount of content that many students have not learned.
As the Atlantic Monthly reported,
"[I]t's the revision of the math section that could have particularly egregious consequences
The new SAT will focus on fewer types of math than the current version does, sacrificing breadth for depth and testing students on the material the College Board believes to be most essential to "college and career success." That might sound like good idea. But with this change in focus comes a change in question style. And that's problematic.
The new version includes fewer questions that deal simply with 'figures and equations' and far more with topics that many, even most, students have not been properly prepared for."
But despite the very real and extremely serious issues with the NEW SAT, Governor Malloy and his allies celebrated Connecticut's decision to mandate that every student take the NEW SAT and that students and teacher be judged by the results of that test.
Malloy press release yesterday added,
"All children deserve a chance to pursue their dreams, go to college, and compete for the best jobs in a global economy. We are no doubt raising a new bar - graduation rates are at record highs while we're preparing children for the future like never before," Governor Malloy said. "But we also believe in testing smartly, and mitigating stress among students and parents. That's why we've taken this step, and I would like to thank Senator Bye, Representative Fleischmann, and all those who worked in the House and Senate on this issue.
Beyond the benefits of reducing duplicative testing, the move has an added benefit of leveling the playing field by ensuring those who otherwise might not be able to afford the SAT - the costs for which typically run more than $50 - will not be precluded from taking the exam, which is often requisite for admission to higher education institutions.
"Our job is to make sure all of our students in Connecticut have access to a top-quality education that prepares them for success in college and career. Tests are an important tool for gauging where we are as a state and where students need additional help to succeed," Commissioner Wentzell said.
"Replacing the Smarter Balanced assessment with the SAT for 11th graders cuts down on the amount of time students spend taking exams and allows high schools to focus on delivering rigorous academic instruction and preparing young people for college. We thank Governor Malloy, our legislators and educational partners for their leadership and support on this important issue."
"I've heard complaints from many parents and students over the past few years about lost learning time and the impact of too much student testing, especially for 11th-graders, who have some of the heaviest testing burdens with the SBAC, SAT and Advanced Placement exams," Senator Bye said. "I believe the changes we have instituted will reduce student stress while still providing them with a proven and valuable college-preparation tool."
"Federal requirements created a bottleneck of testing for high school juniors that we are now fixing," State Representative Fleischmann, House co-chair of the Education Committee, said. "By replacing the 11th Grade SBAC with the new SAT, we not only get rid of a test many students weren't taking seriously - we also make a college entrance exam free for all families. Students who might not have considered college before will start to do so - while their parents get a break on ever-rising test fees."
As the saying goes, with "friends" like these, Connecticut's public schools students, parents and teachers certainly don't need enemies .... They already have them and they are running Connecticut's State Government.