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The History of SAT

The SAT is word that every High Schooler dreads. This word has become engraved into their heads from the moment they hear "College". The SAT can make or break your future. It has become one of the largest determining factors for, who goes where to College. College has become such a competitive and impacted institution, that in order to get into a college you must excel on this test. All of this is NOT true.

Before we even had the SAT, most people who went to college were the rich and elite on the east coast. Members of these school communities did not just want people who could pay their way in, but those who were qualified also. They wanted to expand their school population, so they need to broaden their horizons. They needed something that would that they could compare students all over the country and even internationally.

The idea of a national test was first developed in 1900 by a group of colleges, which formed the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB). This group was organized to "help high school students make a successful transition to higher education" (www.collegeboard.com) by giving High school students consistent guidelines from year to year, to strive towards. If the students knew exactly what the Colleges were looking for, in their new students they can strive to meet those standards.

The test was supposed to be a way to help along the admission processes for those participating colleges. By having the students take this test it also provided the colleges with a consistent tool to judge the Students that were coming from all the over the country. The Colleges do not know everything about the High School they came from, so to allow equal opportunity for everybody, they needed a standardized test.

So the CEEB, know today as the College Board, developed the Scholastic Achievement test (SAT). Though just because they developed this test, it was not a factor consider by every College, at this time. The majority of Colleges, who used the SAT, as a factor in the Admission process, were the Colleges of the Northeast of the country, or the IVY leagues schools. This was because the few colleges that were part of the CEEB were from these Colleges. In 1926 there was just about over 8,000 people taking the SAT. It took many years for colleges to take the SAT as a viable resource to judge their new students on. Now there are over millions who take the SAT, because it has become a requirement for admission into College.

So, when the SAT was first introduced it was an Achievement test to determine what a student had achieved in their high school career. It was to "measure the level achieved by students" (http://encyclopedia.thefreedicitonary.com) who were applying to a college. They would determine whether they had acquired the amount of knowledge they should know to come to the school. It was the Colleges way to reinforce the grades that a student might have received in high school. Every college doesn't know the difficulty of each individual school, or their curriculum. So the test was to make sure that they had a supplement to the grades they had received.

In 1941 the CEEB had to change the name to the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), which it is most associated with. They changed the test to suite a more logical, and developmental viewpoint of the Student. The test had evolved into a determining factor of a person's intelligence. The test was becoming more popular in the 1950's and 1960's, but had not yet become universal. As the SAT's became more popular, people knew what to expect so they would study towards the test.

Coaching Schools developed for example; Kaplan, and the Princeton Review. Schools such as these forced the College Board to change the name of he SAT yet again. This time they changed the name to the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT). They did not feel right about calling it an aptitude test when someone could be coached to get a good score. It now was determined by how much a student had learned. It was testing the knowledge of subject that was taught at the high schools. Though this name change did not last long in 1994 they changed the test to the neutral SAT, with out being an acronym. The SAT 1 is a reasoning test, which examines a students Mathematical and Verbal Skills. There is a possible high score of 800 in each subject, so a total high of 1600. These scores were able to portray the students weak and strong points in the subjects.

 The SAT provides a reliable system to determine the qualifications of a Student applying to go to a college. The SAT has been able to give colleges the opportunity to accept students based on their merit and not their Family background. In the Past the people who went to college or further their education were the rich and well connected people. The SAT has been able to set aside the family ties and provide concrete evidence of a student's merit.

The College board wanted to make college appeal to those who believed they had no place in college. The government made it possible for students who cam from low- income families, by providing fee-waivers that could make it possible for those students to take the test, and not feel intimidated by college. The College Board wants to make every individual feel that college could be for them if they wanted it.

Additionally, the College Board set up the SAT to provide the College a consistent and common practice to compare to the inconsistent grading systems at the High schools. The colleges have no way of knowing the exact grading method for every teacher of every class they teach. The SAT balances out those broad ranges of teachers. The national test is the same one for every body who takes it. The same machines grade each individual test, and each test is scored exactly the same. This system provides for at least one consistent component when comparing applicants.

Finally the SAT is able to give stability to the inconsistencies of the nations curriculum standards. Education is not a national government issue. It is a state issue, which allows there to be many different requirements for graduation in each state and counties with in the state. It goes further in that each school has many different ways of fulfilling the requirements by the state. Each school could be teaching totally different things across the country. The SAT also again provides a consistent factor in the application processes.

Without the SAT the Colleges would have not one common factor between the students applying to attend their school. The Schools would become less integrated, because they would only accept those students near their area, because they knew their curriculum and grading. It would also cause the students who have the good background and received the best education to progress to the schools of the rich.

I am not saying the SAT is the only thing that Colleges look at when admitting students to their school. There is no school that uses the SAT as the only factor in the admission processes. The SAT only provides the College with a national consistent factor for every student that is considered for admission.

In fact the SAT has been changed yet again, and now has become more curriculum based. By doing this forces the High schools to teach somewhat the same things, because every student is going to be tested on it in order to get into college. The College Board made the test so the student applies his or her knowledge and doe not just get lucky by guessing on an answer. This new way is supposed to make it so students are not learning how to beat the SAT, but in fact are knowledgeable and hardworking students.

Overall the SAT does in fact prove to be helpful, though it depends on the College or University on how much emphasizes it should take in the Admission processes. It has been modified to help fit the needs of today, but I do not think that it can ever be gotten rid of. Maybe replaced, for example the ACT, but they need some type of National Factor, which connects the whole country together in education.

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