Update #2 (1/27/16): Based on the LinkedIn job notification I received yesterday, it seems that ETS will be responsible for overseeing essay grading on the new SAT. That’s actually a move away from Pearson, which has been grading the essays since 2005. Not sure what to think of this. Maybe that’s the bone the College Board threw to ETS to compensate for having taken the actual test-writing away. Or maybe they’re just trying to distance themselves from Pearson.
Update: Hardly had I published this post when I discovered recent information indicating that ETS is still playing a consulting role, along with other organizations/individuals, in the creation of the new SAT. I hope to clarify in further posts. Even so, the information below raises a number of significant questions.
Thanks to Akil Bello over at Bell Curves for finally getting an answer:
(In case the image is too small for you to read, the College Board’s Aaron Lemon-Strauss states that “with rSAT we manage all writing/form construction in-house. use some contractors for scale, but it’s all managed here now.” You can also view the original Twitter conversation here.)
Now, some questions:
What is the nature of the College Board’s contract with ETS?
Who exactly is writing the actual test questions?
Who are these contractors “used for scale,” and what are their qualifications? What percentage counts as “some?”
What effect will this have on the validity of the redesigned exam? (As I learned from Stanford’s Jim Milgram, one of the original Common Core validation committee members, many of the College Board’s most experienced psychometricians have been replaced.)
Are the education officials who are mandated the redesigned SAT in Connecticut, Michigan, Colorado, Illinois, and New York City aware that the test is no longer being written by ETS?
Why has this not been reported in the media? I cannot recall a single article, in any outlet, about the rollout of the new test that even alluded to this issue. ETS has been involved in writing the SAT since the 1940s. It is almost impossible to overstate what a radical change this is.
If you view the twitter conversation, they talk about the two different percentiles used on the PSAT.
Not sure that clears up the matter of inflated percentiles.
The issue isn’t that the College Board hasn’t explained the two percentiles; it’s that they’re only putting the higher percentile on the PDF report.
Thank you for this. I hadn’t paid attention to that conversation, but when I read the questions on the October 2015 PSAT, my reaction was:
This wasn’t written by the same people. And these people aren’t nearly as good. Shit.
You are correct. The new people writing the SAT questions are largely ACT rejects that ACT was reportedly happy to get rid of.
Well that certainly explains a lot…