Teens Don’t Like The SAT—But They’re Not Agitating To Change It

Even in this digital age, college-bound teens say they would prefer taking the SAT the old-fashioned way—with paper and pencil, writes Mary Beth Marklein in USA Today:

Asked if they would like to take the standardized college entrance exam on a computer, just one in 10 students said yes, according to a survey by Kaplan Test Prep.

Many parents didn’t see that one coming. In a companion survey, nearly two out of three parents thought their kids would rather take the SAT online.

Kaplan Test Prep, which this month surveyed 302 parents of kids who took its SAT test-prep course and 396 students who took the Kaplan course and the SAT, asked for opinions on whether the SAT needs a shake-up. It also asked whether the format should change from paper and pencil to computer-based.

More than four out of five students (81%) said they would not want to take the SAT via computer, citing concerns such as technical difficulties, typing proficiency and wanting to work out math problems with paper and pencil. Nine percent weren’t sure. Among parents, 65% favored computers, in many cases noting that most kids are tech-savvy, and 15% were unsure.

Parents also were more likely than kids to say the SAT needs an overhaul.
More than a third (39%) of students and a little fewer than half (45%) of parents said the SAT should be changed; 26% of students and 37% of parents said they were unsure.

Among students and parents who favored changes in the test, a theme emerged: Make it shorter.” (Read more here.)

Interesting that today’s teenagers are hardly rising up in protest against the SAT. Reminds me of the David Brooks column I read in The New York Times this morning: quoting from a paper by one of the students in a college class he’s teaching, he calls this generation the “Cynic Kids” and says that while they “don’t like the system,” they are “wary of other alternatives as well as dismissive of their ability to actually achieve the desired modifications. As such, the generation is very conservative in its appetite for change.” (Read more here.)

True of the teenagers you know? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

One Response to “Teens Don’t Like The SAT—But They’re Not Agitating To Change It”

  1. cathy says:

    I can’t speak for teenagers, but my 3rd grade son, already a pro at computerized standardized tests, greatly prefers old fashioned written tests to the computerized ones. He feels like it’s easier to jump back and forth and make notes about questions he’s not certain about. (To be fair, many of his computerized tests don’t allow going back to questions.) I would have to agree.

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