Many students and parents have expressed outrage over the scoring of the June SAT exam. You see, students who answered fewer incorrect questions on the June exam as compared to the May exam were surprised — and rather disappointed — to learn that their June scores were lower than their May scores. But how can this be? Well, let’s just say we’ve been in the college admissions business for a long time — for twenty-five years — and this is, well, normal. Some SAT administrations are easier than others. The easier the SAT, the more a wrong answer will hurt a test-taker. In the world of the SAT, this is not news.
The #RescoreJuneSAT Movement
But in a day and age when just about anything can become a movement, it’s little surprise that high school students have started a petition and indeed a grassroots movement to encourage College Board to rescore the June SAT. These students are quickly learning that not every movement inspires change — just the successful movements. As Ben Popken reports for “NBC News” in a piece entitled “Easy SAT has students crying over ‘shocking’ low scores,” “A College Board spokesperson told NBC News that because the June version of the test was easier than others, more points were taken off for wrong answers in order to make the scores comparable with previous SATs, a process called ‘equating.’ ‘Equating makes sure that a score for a test taken on one date is equivalent to a score from another date,’ the company said in a statement posted on Twitter. ‘So, for example, a single incorrect answer on one administration could equal two or three incorrect answers on a more difficult version.’ ‘The equating process ensures fairness for all students,’ the statement continued.
College Board Has No Motivation to Rescore June SAT
We don’t envision this movement picking up much steam. College Board is a business. College Board has been scoring SAT exams like this for many years. While it may be new to these test-takers, that’s only because they haven’t been taking the SAT for many years (nor should they — that’d be ridiculous!). At a time when some highly selective colleges are denouncing the importance of the SAT essay, it doesn’t make good business sense for the company to question the legitimacy of their own exam — which they’d be doing by rescoring it. And while we are often the first to criticize College Board, we have a feeling these students wouldn’t be complaining about their scores if the equating process led them to achieve higher scores — even if they felt the system was unfair. At the end of the day, College Board answers to colleges. Colleges are their core customers — since students apply to colleges. If colleges, particularly our nation’s most elite universities, aren’t pressuring them to rescore the June exam, you can bet they’re not sweating it.
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