The SAT and zombies

The New York Times op-ed columnist Paul Krugman often talks about zombie ideas – ideas that are unsupported by any evidence but that continue to linger on in the mainstream, where they are kept alive by Very Serious People who should really know better, but who collectively choose to bury their heads in the sands because it suits their needs to do so.

As far as the SAT is concerned, I would like to nominate two myths in particular for zombie status: (more…)

The College Board informant returns (and the College Board goes after him)

The College Board informant returns (and the College Board goes after him)

This past June, Manuel Alfaro, a former Executive Director of Test Design and Development at the College Board, wrote a stunning series of tell-all posts on LinkedIn in which he detailed the numerous problems plaguing the redesigned SAT as well as the College Board’s attempts to alternately ignore and cover up those problems.

For several weeks, Alfaro posted nearly every day, each time revealing more disturbing details about the College Board’s bumbling ineptitude and equally clumsy attempts to hide it. 

Then, after 16 posts, he disappeared.  (more…)

The SAT vs. ACT decision: how many practice tests do you need to take?

For those of you still deciding between the SAT and the ACT, one factor that you need to take into account is the number of practice tests you’re planning to take. I touched on this point in a recent post, but I’d like to revisit it here from a slightly different angle.

I’m insisting on it because of a couple of recent tutoring inquiries regarding students who want to start test prep early in junior year, and who are looking to raise their reading scores by enormous amounts (in the 200 point-range). But this post is also applicable to anyone looking to spend more than a few months prepping.  (more…)

Five reasons to continue avoiding the new SAT

Five reasons to continue avoiding the new SAT

When the redesigned SAT was rolled out this past March, most test-prep professionals that there would be a few bumps; however, there was also a general assumption that after the first few administrations of the new test, the College Board would regain its footing, the way it did in 2005, after the last major change.

Unfortunately, that does not appear to be happening. If anything, the problems appear to be growing worse.

If you’ve been following my recent posts, much of this will familiar. That said, I think it’s worth summing up some of the most important practical concerns about the new test in a single post. (more…)

The College Board’s useless SAT reports

The following was sent to me by a colleague, a longtime teacher and tutor who runs her own business; I’m posting it here with her permission. Keep in mind that the College Board has repeatedly touted “transparency” (ha!) as one of the key features of the SAT redesign. 

I have a student who scored in the 400’s on her  June SAT. Thought I’d look at her report (granted, not a queestion-and-answer service report) online to see what areas need work. This is what I got. (more…)

A list of College Board failures

A list of College Board failures

Thanks to a blog reader for submitting this comment.  

How many abysmal fails has College Board committed/experienced in the past 18 months?

The test (June 2015) with a misprint on the last sections about how much time students had that led to uneven test administrations across the country.

Disruptions in sending October (or was it November) scores to colleges because they started using their new system for score distribution – for the old test scores – before most admissions office had shifted over to that system (because this was still the old test format). (more…)