The New York Times reports that the controversial new SAT policy, called Score Choice, will enable high school juniors to decide which scores they want sent to colleges and which scores they want to “hide.” Set to take effect in March 2009, the College Board hopes that the new policy will reduce student stress. However, many critics claim that Score Choice is simply a marketing ploy to encourage students to retake the test repeatedly. Others say that the policy will actually increase stress and the testing frenzy.
Brad MacGowan, a college counselor at Newton North High School in Boston, says “In practice, it will add more anxiety, more confusion, more testing for those who can afford it and more coaching.” Yet the College Board disagrees. “It simply allows students to put their best foot forward…and feel very comfortable going into the test center,” says Laurence Bunin, a senior vice president at the College Board.
Some colleges, including USC, Claremont McKenna, Stanford, and the University of Pennsylvania have already declared that they want all student scores, regardless of Score Choice. “Our plan is to first tell students to relax,” said Bruce Poch, vice president and dean of admissions at Pomona College. “The habit here is like many colleges, which is to see it all, but consider for admission purposes the highest individual score.” Many are concerned with exactly how such colleges will handle Score Choice. What will happen when a student who chooses Score Choice applies to a college that requires all scores? Whatever the pros and cons may be, students, admissions officials, and college guidance counselors are not looking forward to the new admissions complication.
Jerome A Lucido, vice provost for enrollment policy and management at USC, sums it up, “Students will like it because it they’ll have a sense of control, but my sense is that it’s not worth the trade-off in terms of complexity and more gamesmanship.”