Common Core and the Revision of the SAT

Common Core and the Revision of the SAT

Today came a welcome announcement that the state of Indiana has come to its senses and withdrawn its intention to implement the insidious Common Core standards in the state’s public schools. Common Core is the liberal attempt to shove a liberal, socialist agenda down the throats of American school children. Nearly every state has bought into the hype in recent years, but thankfully the dark side of Common Core it is finally gaining the attention of a growing number of parents who have taken the time to understand what exactly it entails.

This end-of-March development took me back to a beginning-of-March announcement of which few people took notice. In fact, I didn’t pay much attention until story appeared in my diocesan newspaper on Sunday.  Hearkening back to March 5, the College Board officials announced that its first update of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) since 2005 will be taking place in 2016, ostensibly to make the exam a better representative of what students study in high school and the skills they need to succeed in college and afterward. They suggested that the revised test would offer “worthy challenges, not artificial obstacles.” You could say that the College Board is dumbing down the SAT.

While a full gamut of changes in the SAT can be found on the College Board website, a few are worthy of mention here.

First, the all important essay now will be optional. Students can opt to get by with merely filling in bubbles and never having to write a word other than their names. Also, the vocabulary will be changed so that “obscure words” are not part of the test. All that reading that young people do to increase their minds and their vocabularies will be for naught. Another major change is that the there will be no penalty for wrong answers, so students now can guess to their hearts content, and it will not matter one iota. Does this mean you can guess all you want and if you get 99 wrong and 1 right, you can make … 100%? Someone still needs to explain to me how this works.

In the wake of the announced changes, NPR has asked listeners whether the SAT is obsolete. This is to be expected of the liberal newsies whose longstanding criticism of the SAT is that students from wealthier households do better on the exam because their parents can afford to pay for expensive test preparation classes. That’s why liberals like these proposed changes, which they say will even the proverbial playing field. In other words, rich white kids will no longer get all the advantages since the proposed changes will make tutoring and prep classes unnecessary. Minorities, who cannot afford the same perks, will no longer be at a disadvantage. (Nevermind the fact that there are quotas and other biases that allow minorities to get bumped to the head of the line when they apply.)

So, while it may seem that liberals are getting what they want with the dumbing down of the SAT, what is really happening as a result of the complaints that have been levied is actually a good turn of events. Good for freedom lovers, that is. The controversy over the standardized exams in recent years has led many colleges and universities to make the SAT and ACT optional for students who apply for entry. This essentially restores autonomy to the University. A number of Catholic colleges have already made the SAT and ACT exams optional. In addition, colleges are no longer feeling compelled to rely on national standardized exams that are controlled by liberal educators with a liberal agenda, with tests prepared to test the liberal curriculum that has permeated liberal public schools for decades now.

Lastly and most importantly, to come full circle, the changes in how colleges use (or do not use) the SAT and ACT exams should help tame the groundswell for the Common Core curriculum. The argument for why many schools systems and states have adopted Common Core is that their students need to be competitive when it comes to standardized testing in college entrance exams. But if more and more colleges drop the SAT and ACT as requirements, this will alleviate the pressure on schools to teach the Common Core methodologies and substance. And dropping Common Core will be a positive outcome.

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Ava Gardner