Across the Street column: SAT is high stakes testing
September 11, 2017
During the August board meeting of the State Board of Education, the Colorado Department of Education released the Scholastic Aptitude Scores for 2016-17. The SAT is a standardized test that is administered by the College Board, a nonprofit organization. The test is used by colleges and universities to determine college readiness.
In 2016-17 the SAT was first introduced to Colorado 11th-grade students. The new test is reported to be more closely aligned to our state academic standards than previous tests. It can be taken by paper and pencil or by using a computer. It also relies more on skill and less on "test-taking tricks" than other tests.
The SAT basically measures what a student has learned in "math" and "evidence based reading and writing" (EBRW). In the past, reading and writing earned separate scores, but the new SAT combines reading and writing scores. EBRW and math scores range from 200 to 800 points. The total combined score range is, therefore, 400 to 1600.
What is a good SAT score?
Colorado requires all juniors to take the SAT test. We are one of eight states to do so. Other states have choice options that may include the SAT. The average Colorado score for EBRW was 513.4 and 500.9 for math. A total combined score for the average student in Colorado was 1,014.3.
Let's look at a student who scored 1,014 on the combined tests. To which schools can the student apply and feel confident he will be accepted? One of our great Western Colorado schools admits students with a combined score between 990-1,210 with the average score of accepted students at 1,100. With a score of 1,014 a student has a 97 percent chance of being admitted. Harvard, in comparison, accepts students with a scores between 1470-1600, with an average admittance score of 1535. Your chances here would be very slim. A good SAT score, therefore, might be a score that would help you gain admittance into the college of your choice.
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The SAT is considered to be a "high stakes" test for college-bound students. Of course, there are other, less expensive, career pathways to follow that allow students to enter, and be successful, in the workforce. It's a matter of career choice, which may change, throughout a lifetime.
Joyce Rankin serves on the State Board of Education representing the 3rd Congressional District. She writes the monthly column "Across the Street" to share with constituents in her district. The Department of Education, where the State Board of Education meets, is located across the street from the Capitol. She is also a legislative assistant for Rep. Bob Rankin.
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