USA: ACT, SAT, what’s in it for me? Young Voices

Examsguru – ACT, SAT: Standardized testing is a grueling part of the college admissions process that every college-bound student has to endure. The SAT and ACT are meant to aid colleges in their selection of students through the evaluation of test scores from all high school students. College Board is making changes to its test which will take effect spring 2016. Although these changes may be positive in some ways, it appears the makers of the test are simply trying to compete with the ACT.

The proposed changes to the SAT are meant to be more relevant to the education high school students are actually receiving. The writing section will be optional and will contain an analytical essay, and there will be less emphasis on vocabulary in the reading sections. The vocabulary tested will be “less obscure” than in recent years, according to College Board. The range of math topics tested will be narrowed. The scoring will change from 2400 to 1600, and points will no longer be deducted for incorrect answers.

The last time the SAT saw great revisions was in 2005, when the scoring scale was changed from 1600 to 2400 and the essay section was added.

College Board also will be partnering with Khan Academy to provide free test preparation beginning in spring 2015 to create a fair opportunity for students of all economic circumstances. However, students of higher income families will probably still test higher as they do now because of private tutoring, better high school educations and other economic advantages College Board cannot control.

Although it seems College Board has good intentions making the SAT more relevant to students and what they are actually learning in high school, it is hard to ignore that in 2012, 1,666,017 students took the ACT, while 1,664,479 took the SAT, according to the National Center for Fair and Open Testing – the first time the number of ACT takers has surpassed that of the SAT.

The more students who take the exam, the more money College Board will make. The 2016 changes may encourage more students to take the SAT instead of the ACT. Rather than testing college preparation, test makers are monopolizing the standardized testing system.

The SAT is arguably compromising its standards for students by making its essay optional and giving more specific guidelines for which math topics to study. The makers of the SAT may simply be trying to stay ahead of the ACT in terms of number of students taking the exam.

Competition between the ACT and SAT may be the driving force for the changes to the SAT. Whatever the true intention is, hopefully all students will benefit in some way because the test will be more relevant to real high school education.

Source: NWI Times

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  1. @@@
    The findings could leave card sharps ready to throw in their hand – and the taxman rubbing his hands with glee.
    Poker is among the most popular internet games in the UK, with leading bookmakers and other big-name operators running sites attracting millions of players.
    H2 Gambling Capital, a leading consultancy in the gaming industry, calculated that in 2013 alone online poker rooms generated more than 拢2bn in winnings, with expert players often taking part in multiple online games at once.
    The academics ran tens of thousands of simulations, pitching the best performing players in the sample against the worst and comparing their respective winnings.聽

    Writer and TV presenter Victoria Coren Mitchell, one of Britain’s top professional players, has won more than 拢1.5m – including 拢400,000 at a single event
    Over the course of just a few hands the better-performing players fared better only slightly more than half the time.聽
    But their success rate gradually increased until they 1,471 hands had been played, when they fared better at least 75 per cent of the time.
    Dr Dennie van Dolder, of the University of Nottingham’s School of Economics, said the study showed ‘skilled players will consistently outperform less skilled players if enough hands…are played.’
    The expert in behavioural and experimental economics said that if, as the study found, performance is predictable, ‘then it follows that poker involves an element of skill and can’t be merely a game of pure chance.’聽
    Writer and TV presenter Victoria Coren Mitchell, one of Britain’s top professional players, has won more than 拢1.5m – including 拢400,000 at a single event.
    Dr van Dolder said his study’s findings could now have ‘significant legal implications’ for such people.
    He added: ‘It’s up to legislators to decide whether the role of chance diminishes fast enough for poker to be considered a game of skill. If so then our findings represent both good and bad news for players.
    ‘The good news is they’ll have the satisfaction of knowing the game they love is recognised as requiring real skill.
    ‘The bad news is that one day they might have to start handing some of their winnings to the taxman if the policymaking community takes notice of findings like ours.’聽
    The research contradicts a 2012 study by Professor Gerhard Meyer, of the University of Bremen’s Institute of Psychology and Cognition Research, which suggested that poker was largely a game of chance.
    In that study, 300 poker players took part, playing 60 hands each on tables of six. They were divided into ‘expert’ and ‘average’ players, and their ability to make money from good, bad and average hands was assessed.
    As expected, ‘expert’ players lost less money on bad hands, but did no better than ‘average’ players on mediocre hands – and made slightly less on good ones. Prof Meyer concluded that ‘poker players overestimate the skill factor in their play’.

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