Category Archives: Testing


College Board Unveils Sample SAT Items

On Wednesday the College Board released a slew of information about its plans for redesigning the SAT, including several sample items that show how the test is changing. Here’s a look at five examples, with correct answers in bold.

‘Relevant Words in Context’

Obscure words are out, “relevant” words are in. The College Board plans to emphasize words and phrases that students are likely to encounter frequently in college. The following is a sample passage from the Reading section.

[...] The coming…


At Test-Optional Colleges, Students Surpass the Scores They Didn’t Submit

At nearly three dozen colleges that do not require applicants to take the ACT or SAT, researchers have found only “trivial differences” between the long-term performance of college students who submitted test scores and those who did not.

According to a report released on Tuesday, the cumulative grade-point averages of non-submitters was .05 lower than of submitters (2.83 compared with 2.88). The difference in their graduation rates: 0.6 percent.

The report (“Defining Promise: Optional Standardi…


High Schools Have a Cow Over College Board Stickers

cowThe College Board is known for many things, but a sense of humor is not one of them. So Gretchen G. Parks was surprised when the nonprofit organization sent her three dozen cow stickers.

On Wednesday morning, Ms. Parks, director of college counseling at the Academy of the Sacred Heart, in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., received an envelope containing a letter. “Dear educator,” it said. “Your students participated in the PSAT/NMSQT, along with 3.6 million other students, and had a great time taking the…


Some Colleges Breathed a Sigh of Relief Over the Delay in the New SAT

For months college officials have heard all about the College Board’s plans to improve the SAT. At an admissions conference in September, David Coleman, the organization’s president, said he wanted to make the examination “beautiful.” Although the remark drew some chuckles, it conveyed his palpable enthusiasm for the new SAT, originally slated for a spring-2015 debut.

So some admissions deans were surprised when Mr. Coleman announced on Tuesday that the revamped exam would come one year later th…


College Board Delays New SAT Until 2016

The College Board has delayed the release of the revamped SAT by one year, the organization announced on Tuesday. The new examination will make its debut in the spring of 2016.

At the College Board’s annual conference, in October, David Coleman, its president, said colleges would get an early look at the new test this winter, a year ahead of the original rollout date. But in an email to college counselors on Tuesday, Mr. Coleman said feedback from admissions officials and other experts had pers…


An Early Look at DePaul U.’s Test-Optional Policy

One year in, the results of DePaul University’s test-optional policy are “encouraging.”

So writes Jon Boeckenstedt, the university’s associate vice president for enrollment management, in a blog post describing how the freshman class of 2012 has fared so far. (Last year DePaul became the largest private nonprofit university to go completely “test optional,” as I reported here.)

The freshman-to-sophomore retention rate for students who submitted ACT or SAT scores was 85 percent; for students who …


First-Generation Students Lag in College Readiness, Report Says

About a quarter of high-school graduates who took the ACT in 2013 met all four of its college-readiness benchmarks, in English, reading, mathematics, and science. But students whose parents did not go to college fared quite a bit worse: Only 9 percent of them met all four benchmarks.

That finding comes from a report, “The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2013: First-Generation Students,” released on Monday by ACT and the Council for Opportunity in Education, a nonprofit group focused on a…


A Quarter of High-School Grads Who Took ACT Are Found College-Ready

Twenty-six percent of high-school graduates who took the ACT in 2013 met all four of its college-readiness benchmarks, according to a report released on Wednesday by ACT Inc., the organization that administers the test.

The benchmarks were designed by ACT to indicate the minimum scores needed on each subject it tests to signify a 50-percent chance of earning a B or higher, or a 75-percent chance of earning a C or higher, in corresponding first-year college courses.

The report, “The Condition of …


College Board Plans an ‘Improved’ SAT

For months the College Board’s new president has hinted that change was coming to the SAT. Now he has made the organization’s intentions clear.

In an e-mail to College Board members on Monday, David Coleman said the group would better connect elementary and secondary schools with colleges and universities by developing “a more innovative assessment that sharply focuses on a core set of knowledge and skills that are essential for readiness, access, and success,” and that are “most important to pr…


‘How We Separate Merit From Privilege’

Los Angeles — At a conference hosted by the University of Southern California’s Center for Enrollment Research, Policy, and Practice last week, Charles E. Lovelace Jr. uttered the most memorable quote. The next great challenge in college admissions, he said, is “how we separate merit from privilege.”

Mr. Lovelace is executive director of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Morehead-Cain Foundation, which annually provides full-ride scholarships to 50 undergraduates. In an article t…