The New SAT is now out for high school students. The change has been in the works since 2005 now, but this year is the first year of the new test implementation. The New SAT is supposedly designed to better reflect what students learned in high school and what they will learn in college. Over 300,000 students took the test this past weekend; they were the inaugural class for this new SAT. The test has changed in many ways including the elimination of the vocabulary section, making the essay optional, and not penalizing students for guessing.
With all that said I’m going to wrap this into an eLearning frame. In the past, students would be better prepared for the exam if they took expensive preparation courses. My parents knew the importance of this exam and paid a great sum of money for a private tutor who prepared me for the exam and taught me the skills on how to beat the test. My scores went up dramatically, compared to scores previous to the tutoring.
Not all high school students have the opportunity to have SAT prep courses. This created a type of economic/racial discrimination against those student whose parents could not afford to pay for the test prep. Online education to the rescue - the Kahn Academy offers free high quality SAT prep courses to high school students. David Coleman, president and CEO of the College Board, had this to say:
“Never in my career have I seen a launch of technology at this scale that has broken down the racial divisions that so haunt this nation — never. More students, whatever their level of income, are preparing for the SAT with Khan Academy than with all commercial test prep combined — at every level of income.”
Online education is democratizing access to valuable SAT prep material. This issue of access to prep material is more important than ever as college admissions become more competitive. This is a great start to achieving equal access to education and college, but much work remains to be done in public education. Online education and resources cannot change the culture of discrimination and lack of funding in public schools, but it can help some self-driven students.