SAT (Should I Attempt Twice)


Denver Post cartoon satirizing the effect of standardized tests on public education. Source: Mike Keefe, Denver Post, 2002

Denver Post cartoon satirizing the effect of standardized tests on public education.
Source: Mike Keefe, Denver Post, 2002

Keeping with yesterdays dialogue about the SAT/ACT I thought I’d share a little known fact about the SAT.  It came into question recently with one of our clients whose daughter wants to get into an Ivy League school and she didn’t (actually her parents) feel her scores were high enough on her first attempt at the SAT.

We recommended to the family that 24 hours of tutoring would be needed to get some decent increase but we also said it would not get her the increase they desired since it is actually hard to increase the SAT by more than 40 points.  The family decided that 12 hours would be enough and the daughter would take the SAT in 6 weeks.  The daughter did the tutoring and everything the tutor asked as far as homework and extra study.  She was a model student but her results came back and she went down on two of the three parts of the SAT.  The family was stunned.  In talking with the mother I mentioned that it is not unusual for a SAT score to go down on the second attempt.  She got very irritated with me on that and just couldn’t believe it.

I know it does sound a bit odd but it is a well documented fact and even the SAT’s owner, The College Board has researched the phenomena and report it in ‘Retaking the SAT‘.  There is also a story of a validation by the The Providence Journal’s ‘Truth-O-Meter’ of a comment by Rhode Island Representative on a radio interview on March 19th, 2013 focused on Common Core and Standardized testing that “Do you know that, statistically, when you take the SAT a second time, one-third of the people that take the SAT, even if they’ve been studying, will get a lower score than they did the first time around?”  The ‘Truth-O-Meter’ gave the comment a 100% true approval following some very good investigations and email with a College Board representative.

As stated by the SAT report titled ‘Retaking the SAT‘ I viewed today:

Score changes when students test again

Here are some general points about score change that may help you advise your students.

Our client has four hours of tutoring left and she has already signed her daughter up for the SAT again in 4 weeks time….oh the horror.

…and just why would a Rhode Island Representative be interested in the SAT?  It seems that some of the State’s education leaders want the an assessment similar to the SAT called the NECAP to be used to support student academic proficiency to graduate high school. His point is relevant to the debate because as stated in the story “NECAP supporters point out that students who don’t do well on the test must take it again and show improvement to qualify for graduation.”  60% of the adults who take the math portion of the test fail.

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Filed under Education Reform, Improved Learning, My Experiences, Parenting, Test

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