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Majority of admissions officers approve of proposed SAT changes


Monday, September 23, 2013

The SAT is one of the most common college admissions exams in the U.S. Millions of students have taken this exam since it was introduced in 1926. In subsequent years, the test has undergone several major overhauls. Now, the SAT is set to receive another series of changes, and many college admissions officials believe the revisions are long overdue.

Facing the future
Researchers at Kaplan Test Prep surveyed 422 college admissions officials from liberal arts and regional colleges around the country to gauge the overall reaction to the proposed changes to the SAT. A key finding indicated that 72 percent of individuals polled believe the SAT should be changed to reflect the shifting priorities of higher education in the U.S. and to ensure students are tested rigorously in preparation for their college-level work.

The amendments to the college admissions exam could have profound implications for young people preparing for college.

"Aspiring college students and their parents will have much to process over the next two years as both the SAT and ACT fundamentally change," said Seppy Basili, vice president of K–12 and college admissions programs for Kaplan Test Prep. "Key things to consider: exams are rarely easier after a major change, and few teens have ever taken a three-hour long computer-based test."

An urgent need
While the proposed changes to the test garnered significant support among admissions officials, several other key findings emerged from the study. Approximately 60 percent of respondents believe that grade inflation is a problem for undergraduate applicants, and that Advanced Placement courses—which are weighted more heavily into a student's GPA—are a primary cause of this issue.

In addition, few college admissions officials believe that students' application essays were as strong as they need to be. Of the survey participants, 68 percent said they thought less than one-third of students' admission essays were "excellent or outstanding," suggesting there is much room for improvement in this area.

Plagiarism was also identified as a problem by some admissions officers. Approximately 10 percent of respondents indicated they thought plagiarism was either a "somewhat" or "very" serious problem in college applications, yet only 10 percent said they used anti-plagiarism software to detect stolen or falsified student work.

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