Friday, June 28, 2002

Isle students, schools await
SAT test changes in 2005

By Lisa Asato

A revamped SAT -- coming in 2005 -- with a new writing segment, more advanced math and no analogy section will be an improvement because it will test what students learn in school, says 16-year-old Linda Ichiyama.

"I think it's for the better," said the Moanalua High School student, who scored a perfect 800 in math and a "not too good" 540 in verbal.

"There are classes on how to take it rather than ... what do you learn. So I think it would probably make the test more efficient, or a better way of assessing" your abilities, she said.

The New York-based College Board voted unanimously yesterday to adopt the changes, in part spurred by a proposal by the University of California system to drop the test as an admission requirement.

Doris Ching, University of Hawaii vice president for student affairs, said the changes were significant, but what the impact will be is still unknown.

"It may not make a difference for ... individual applicants, but for us we'll have to decide how this writing part is going to fit in with our writing exam," she said. "The other important thing, I think people (nationwide) are going to look at the SAT and either reaffirm the use of SAT or look at other possibilities. Right now we don't know what those possibilities are."

Ching said UH uses multiple admissions criteria, including grade-point average, class ranking and recommendations. But she said the SAT is valuable in putting people from different backgrounds -- from public and private schools and Hawaii and the mainland -- on one scale.

A representative from the College Board, which oversees the SAT, will be meeting with some UH administrators and faculty Aug. 19 to explain the changes, Ching said.

The changes include adding algebra II questions, doing away with comparisons of math equations or statements, adding a writing test, and replacing analogies with critical reading passages on topics ranging from science to literature.

Chiara Coletti, a College Board spokeswoman, said the change will benefit students because it better aligns with classroom teaching and also encourages schools to improve their curriculum.

Coletti said that half the students who go to four-year colleges do not graduate, at least in part because they lack basic skills in reading, math and writing.

Charles Proctor, assistant headmaster at Iolani School and co-founder of Iolani's SAT preparation course, called it "a better test, a fairer test because it's tied to what should be done in school."

The changes will be administered for the first time in March 2005.

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