All the Time In the World

Mark Franek, Dean of Students at the William Penn Charter School, has an op-ed piece in today’s New York Times* about that bane of all college applicants: the SAT.

(More below the bump.)

His argument? More rich kids than poor kids are able to document the existence of learning disabilities, thus allowing a disproportional number of well-off children to take the test without the aggressive time limits the rest of us face. The test would be fairer, he suggests, if rejiggered to eliminate all time requirements:

The College Board can surely reduce the number of overall questions on the test (there are now a whopping 170, mostly multiple choice, plus one essay) and design them so that they go from embarrassingly easy to impossible except for the top percentile of students to answer even without a deadline.

That goal should be to give everyone a chance to tackle every question and eliminate time as a factor — thereby accommodating the learning style of all children, including those with disabilities. The College Board needs to take its test back to the drawing board. The answers to these design challenges and issues of fairness may not be as easy as multiple choice, but they can be found.

Yeah, just what every high-schooler wants: to sacrifice more of a precious Saturday to a pressure-cooker that carries unfair, disproportional (and statistically invalidated, by the way) weight on their chances to get into college.

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