Common Core Standards Dumbing Down the SAT

Back to September 2012 Ed Reporter

Common Core Standards
Dumbing Down the SAT

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) dictate what K-12 students in 46 states and the District of Columbia will learn in math and language arts beginning in 2014. If the new president of the College Board gets his way, they may also help lower college admissions standards.

David Coleman, one of the chief architects of the CCSS, will take over as the College Board’s president on October 15. He told Education Week that he hopes to rework the SAT college admissions test to reflect CCSS:

The common core provides substantial opportunity to make the SAT even more reflective of what higher education wants. The real value here is that if the SAT aligns more to the common core, we won’t be giving an assessment at the end of K-12 that’s out of kilter with what we demand at the end of the day. All that does is encourage last-minute test preparation and sudden adaptation. The instrument should measure the steady practice of the work you’ve been doing.

National Center for Fair & Open Testing spokesman Robert Schaeffer cautioned that the level of uniformity Coleman suggests would consolidate too much power with the College Board. He told Education Week that Coleman’s aims represent “the next logical step toward the College Board becoming the nation’s unelected school board.” “Who elected the College Board?” he asked. “Where I live, we vote for our school board, and there are vigorous, contested issues around school policy. Who is the College Board accountable to?”

James Milgram, professor emeritus of mathematics at Stanford University, told a committee of the Texas Legislature the CCSS “do not even cover all the topics that are required for admission to any of the state universities around the country, except possibly those in Arizona, since the minimal expectations at these schools are three years of mathematics, including at least two years of algebra and one of geometry.”

Aligning the SAT with common core will likely make the college admissions test less strenuous, and would, in turn, lead to lower academic standards in college.