College Board offers SAT "score choice"

March 17, 2009 7:33:38 PM PDT
For a lot of students, taking the SAT can be very stressful. So now the College Board says it has come up with a way to reduce that stress and give students a new option when it comes to their test scores. However, this new SAT policy is controversial.

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As of March, students taking the SAT will decide which test scores are reported to colleges. The College Board, which issues the SAT, calls it "score choice."

The vice president of the College Board talked about the new policy from our sister station in new york.

"They can select the scores by sitting, which would mean that with each sitting, with each test day that they take an SAT, they will have a math score, a reading score and a writing score and they send them as a unit for each sitting, for each test day," explained Laurence Bunin, vice president of the College Board.

Under the old policy, every time a student took the SAT the scores were automatically sent to the university of his or her choice. But now students can pick their best sitting. The College Board says this kind of control improves their odds and reduces a student's stress level.

"I mean if you have to send all your scores you are probably nervous," said student Jonathan Bernstein. "You are probably thinking about, well what if I do worse on this one than I did on my first one?"

There are universities, though, that prefer and will advise students to submit all scores. In fact, these universities claim it is to the student's advantage to do so.

UC and Stanford are among those institutions that want to see all sittings.

"It can be the case that the student will have the highest composite score, but on a different sitting of the exam might have a high score, for example, on their SAT writing, and if it's high enough the student would be exempt from the English language writing requirement," said Sue Wilbur, UC director of undergraduate admissions.

Some universities are also concerned students who hold back on their test scores may forget to send them.

"If we don't have test scores at the time we are reviewing the application, it could jeopardize the student's chances for admission to the university," said Wilbur.

Wilbur says about 24 percent of applicants each year fail to submit test scores.

"Excitement of senioritis, graduating," said Brian Thompson, assistant principal and guidance counselor at Pioneer High School in San Jose. He says students have a lot to remember when they are applying.

"After they have submitted their applications by the November 30th deadline, they are getting towards the end of their senior year, they have to make sure they send their mid-year reports on transcripts," said Thompson. "They have to make sure they send their SAT scores with score choice and there will be a number of seniors that do not send their scores."

"I'm going to remember. This is college. It's a big step in someone's life. So if you forget it's probably because you are not thinking about wanting to go to a good college or maybe you just forget, things happen," said student Freddy Aguilar. "In my case, I will not forget."

It costs a student $50 each time he or she sits down to take the SAT. For those who can't afford it, the College Board will waive their fees.

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