AP wrote:Facing complaints the SAT has grown too long, the College Board will consider allowing students to take the three parts of the newly expanded college entrance exam in separate sittings.
The statement comes as at least 200 high school counselors and a handful of college admissions officers around the country have signed a letter to the College Board, which owns the exam, expressing concerns the test's length of three hours and 45 minutes has become a burden on students.
"I think the SATs have become, for some kids, a real marathon that can be highly stressful," said signatory Bob Sweeney, college counselor at Mamaroneck High School in New York. For students with special needs who are granted extra time, he noted, the exam can stretch five or six hours.
College Board spokeswoman Chiara Coletti said her organization was already aware through survey research that many felt the test was too long, and was examining whether it could be broken up. She said it would also consider other options, such as more breaks.
"Length is something that students and their advocates are feeling keenly," she said. "So we have on our own, before this letter, been looking at ways we might be able to help with that."
Still, she said the College Board would have to examine whether the change would unfairly benefit wealthier students who could afford to take the test more often.
"There are possibilities of an equity issue here," she said.
Possible changes will be discussed by the College Board's SAT committee in May, and would have to go through several steps before final approval.
Last spring, the SAT was redesigned to add a writing section, among other changes, and expanded by 45 minutes of official test-taking time.
The counselors' letter noted that the writing section is similar to the old SAT II writing subject matter test, which students had always taken separately from the regular SAT.
Sweeney said he thinks most students would still take the exam for the first time in one sitting. But those looking to improve their scores on just one section should not be forced to retake the entire exam. He said one of his students received a perfect 800 on the writing section last spring, but was forced to retake it just to have another shot at a higher math score.
"Those of us who are dealing with this every day and dealing with the stress that kids are feeling sometimes I think have a much better perspective than the people at College Board, in terms of how it affects a kid's daily life," he said.
Interesting article, considering I have to sit down and take this test for 3 1/2 hours sometime in the next few months. I doubt they will make any changes for this year's test format, though.