The news from College Board that they intend to "revamp" the SAT came as no surprise to The College Whisperer.

After all, back in the day, SAT was the acronym for Scholastic ACHIEVEMENT Test, purporting to test what students had actually learned. It didn't.

As students, parents and college admissions committees began to figure out that Achievement was to the SAT as Water was to Oil, the less than venerable standardized test for college admission was "revamped," and, though it was still the SAT to the world, its moniker was now Scholastic APTITUDE Test -- a survey of what students are capable of learning.

Add in the Writing section. Remove the Analogies. Change scoring from 1600 to 2400. And voila! The prognosticator of prognosticators (save Punxsutawney Phil and Malverne Mel) of just how well students will do in college. Except, it doesn't!

Students with low SAT scores routinely excel in college. High scores do not always translate to academic success at the university level. As for those who achieve perfect scores? Ahh. They write "how to" books and become millionaires. College grades be damned!

The Whys and Wherefores of the next revamp of the SAT are many and varied. The keepers of the sham at College Board, stepping out from behind the curtain, Number 2 pencils still firmly appended to their ovals, say that the coming changes would help students and colleges by "focusing on a core set of knowledge and skills that are essential to college and career success; reinforcing the practice of enriching and valuing schoolwork; fostering greater opportunities for students to make successful transitions into postsecondary education; and ensuring equity and fairness."

Anybody want to buy a bridge?

We have a simpler, if not more insidious reason to revamp, which can be summed up in one word: MONEY! [Two words, for those who require pretext: MONEY and ACT.]

Sources at College Board would deny financial incentives as motivation for change, which, of course, means that money is the primary motivator. When College Board had a virtual monopoly over tests such as the SAT, change was sporadic, nominal, and, at best, of little consequence to outcome. Enter ACT, Inc., not only in the South and West but -- OMG! -- in the student-centric Northeast, and, Ka-Ching -- suddenly College Board wants change (and we're not talking nickels, dimes and quarters, folks).

Fact is, roughly 1.65 million people took the SAT last year. [About 2000 more took the ACT]. Let's see. 1.65 million multiplied by $50 for each SAT test taken. Add in $11 for each Score Report sent to a college. A pinch of "Rush" service at $31 a pop. Gee, those SAT fees sure do add up, don't they? Let's not even give a moment's thought to all those other income-generating tests and services College Board administers or has a hand in. From the GRE to the LSAT, GMAT to MCAT. And don't forget the likes of CSS-Profile, where College Board has the gall to charge you to file for financial aid. [Yeah. Some of these tests are administered by ETS, Educational Testing Service. And who is ETS' biggest client? You guessed it. College Board.]

Well, The College Whisperer was a Political Science major, so you do the math. Suffice it to say that you don't need to solve an SAT word problem or dredge up a logarithm table to figure out that College Board is raking it in -- and ACT is seriously cutting into its profits!

For those who still believe in the SAT as an indicator of college success (along with those who believe in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus and that Wizard who fell from a star called Kansas), a brief yet poignant vignette should serve to dispel. In short, we bring you the tale of an undergrad at a public ivy, majoring in English, graduating Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, entitled, As If We Needed Another Reason To Despise College Board. You have proven, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that you are more than capable of making the grade at a top university. Yet, you must take still another absolutely meaningless test. We bow, once again, to the Collegiate Industrial Complex.

Okay. Okay. We can hear the pro-SAT movement (the testing equivalent of the NRA) lobbying. "The next best thing to sliced bread!" The College Whisperer stands by "meaningless," but for the SAT's prowess in testing how well students will perform on this particular test. Students know it. Parents know it. College admissions officers know it (but dare not admit it in public).

Is the ACT any better than the SAT? Not really. Some students (notably the math and science oriented) have trended better on the ACT than on the SAT in recent years, but both the ACT and SAT come under fire continually -- and rightfully so.

But we digress. We're talking the new and improved SAT here.

To think that College Board's decision to revamp the SAT is motivated by anything other than business (read as, money), would be naiveté
Clearly, ACT is getting the better of the SAT, and not only in the eyes of students. 
College Board has had an "aptitude" over the years for securing a captive audience for its tests, and with it, a veritable treasure trove for its coffers. Not so anymore. 

Perhaps it would be best to put this in terms that even the die-hards at College Board could understand.

The changes to the SAT are about: 
a) The money 
b) Lining the pockets at College Board 
c) Fleecing the college-bound 
d) All of the above

Plan. Prepare. Prevail!

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of The College Whisperer.

Who knows what peril lurks in the college application and admissions process? The College Whisperer knows. . . 

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