Dean: New SAT test lowers scores, admissions standards stay the same

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    Nationally, the graduating class of 2006 had the sharpest drop in SAT scores in 31 years. While scores are dropping, admissions standards at TCU are not, said the dean of admissions.TCU actually has better students this year than before because the average GPA and class ranks have gone up in the applications, said Ray Brown, dean of admissions.

    “We have as many 1200s this year as years before,” Brown said. “We look at everything about the applicant, not just SAT scores because we want to know who the applicant is.”

    He said the SAT score accounts for about 25 percent of the application.

    This year’s scores are comparable to the scores of applicants in 2004, Brown said.

    The concentration should be on the 2004 scores and not on the scores between 2005 and 2006, he said. The drastic drop in scores this year is partially due to the new format of the test, he added

    “It’s not a drop in scores this year as much as a correction,” Brown said.

    The corrections made by the College Board include higher-level math and the elimination of analogies, Brown said.

    Brown, who said the changes to the SAT have improved the test, is one of about 30 deans chosen nationwide by the College Board to state his opinion on the changes.

    Rebekah Rupel, a freshman anthropology major, said she was not concerned about the new SATs.

    “I had a high GPA and a lot of extracurricular activities, so I wasn’t too worried,” Rupel said.

    David Vigil, freshman biology and chemistry major, said he wasn’t concerned about the new format because he knew his class – the first to take the test – would set the bar.

    Texas students usually score below the national average on SAT tests, but the Fort Worth Independent School District is making an effort to stop that trend, said Cynthia Sedam, director for advanced academic services for the FWISD.

    “We actually went up in verbal and math and have gone against the national trend,” Sedam said.

    Students in the FWISD made small gains in the critical reading and math sections of the SAT in 2006, but overall, the district’s average scores continue to lag behind the state and nation scores, according to a Fort Worth Star-Telegram article.

    According to cnn.com, the decline in scores was due, in part, to some students taking the newly lengthened test once instead of twice.

    Caitlin Bataillon, a freshman premajor, said the test was exhausting, and said she is glad she did well the first time she took the test.

    The old test took three hours to complete, and the new test takes an additional 45 minutes.

    “Many of my friends just didn’t even care by the end of the exam,” Bataillon said.

    Luke Brandenburg, a freshman management major, said he thought the test required more endurance than actual knowledge.

    TCU is part of the Southern Consortium, which is comprised of 19 private universities in the South and Southeast, including Southern Methodist University and Rice University, Brown said. Of the 19 universities, 12 responded to a poll about SAT score ranking, which was conducted by the Southern Consortium, and said the overall SAT score of applicants went down.

    Females scored higher than males on the writing section and, for the first time in 35 years, performed better on the exam overall, said Jeff Olson, national research director of Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions.

    The new writing section consists of an essay and a multiple choice section.

    This year’s national average on the writing section was 497 out of 800 with females scoring 11 points higher than males, according to an article on cnn.com.

    Olson said females are more abstract and tend to do better on writing essays as compared to males who do better on the math and critical reading.

    The new SAT isn’t a standardized test since it was just introduced this year, Olson said, so the low scores aren’t surprising.