New Kaplan SAT survey receives praise from college admission officers; concern from students

kaplan-sat-surveyTest takers who are members of the class of 2017 and beyond will encounter many changes when taking the SAT, which sees its first updates in 11 years.

But do these changes reflect K-12’s move toward Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and its own set of comprehensive assessments?

Not explicitly, says the College Board, but everything students encounter on this exam should be widely applicable to their work in college and career training opportunities.

“Our goal is to support college readiness and success for more students and to make sure that those who are prepared take full advantage of the opportunities they’ve earned,” said Katherine Levin, associate director of communications at the College Board. “Less than half of the students who take the SAT are college ready, and that statistic has remained constant over time. The exam will reflect and reinforce the key skills and knowledge that students are learning in their best courses.”

Levin added that “assessments such as the SAT must be integrated with rigorous classroom instruction, and through their results, propel students to greater opportunities. The redesigned SAT will reward productive use of classroom time and a focus on rigorous course work.”

Reps for Kaplan Test Prep, an SAT tutoring and college prep company, said the company believes  the SAT is still relevant in the CCSS era.

“The goals of the [Common Core State] standards are commendable,” said Christine Brown, Kaplan Test Prep’s executive director of K-12 and college prep programs. “This unified set of standards allows students to be fully prepared for colleges and careers and I look forward in the coming years to how these standards will transform the educational landscape. However, the SAT and ACT are not going anywhere and are still an important part of the admissions process.”

Kaplan Test Prep conducted separate surveys of admissions officers from over 400 of the nation’s top colleges and universities and of nearly 700 high school students, asking respondents about the changes in the SAT. The survey found that admissions officers are more supportive of many of the changes than the test takers themselves. “College admissions officers strongly support the upcoming changes to the SAT, but students are a bit wary about certain elements,” Brown said.

(Next page: Key takeaways from the surveys)