The SAT test, long a hallmark of “scholastic aptitude” will be dumbed down in 2016 to meet the intellects of today’s students. While, of course, that’s not how the SAT overhaul is being described by the company who makes the test or by educators, that’s what’s happening in reality. Firstly, the test will do away with the mandatory essay section and make it “optional” presumably because today’s students are incapable of writing, and/or today’s trendsetters think being able to write well is “optional” in life in general. Secondly, the maximum score will be downgraded from 2,400 to a mere 1,600; a stunning 800 point decline. Thirdly, “obscure” (aka high-level) vocabulary words will be dropped from the test entirely, and replaced with words that “students use routinely.”
Speaking of words, there are almost none to describe the significance of this downgrading of the SAT test. It’s as if educators have collectively thrown up their hands and said “we give up.” The United States is no longer concerned, it seems, with turning out the best and the brightest, but with altering benchmarks to meet the lowered expectations and standards of a generation stupefied beyond imagination.
This is just the beginning, though, and part of the blame must be placed on the amount of time students spend staring at electronic screens rather than reading; interacting on social media instead of writing; and sexting instead of studying. Since educators and the United States government refuse to acknowledge the impact of electronic gadget addiction on students, in 20 years, the SAT test will undoubtedly have a maximum score of 800, no vocabulary, no essay, and math equations like “what is 2 + 2?”
Electronic gadget addiction is, of course, at least partially to blame for the dumbing down of students in the United States, but society at large patently refuses to acknowledge that gadget addiction even exists, let alone take steps to rectify it. Instead, society has chosen to dumb down the SAT test to meet today’s students’ intellects.
Since now the essay section of the SAT will be optional, everyone in the United States should expect that in the future, all books and news articles will be written in text and instant messaging lexicon. After all, why demand big vocabulary words, or that students actually stretch their brains? It’s better to only expect words that are used routinely so that students can stay in their electronic cocoons, staring at flat screens all day, every day. In 20 years, all that will exist is short snippets of text-speak, preferably condensed into 140 characters or fewer.
If anyone wants to read a long, complex, serious and thought provoking book, they’ll be completely out of luck. Since the SAT test is being dumbed down to meet today’s students’ intellects, and absolutely nothing is being done to reverse this decline, it’s totally reasonable that levels of intellect will continue to fall drastically. In 2016, the essay section of the SAT will be optional, and in 20 years, there will be no writing required at all, nor will there be any more in-depth essays or white papers that exist, period.
The degradation of intellect will extend far beyond the literary and academic world, though. Imagine surgeons and scientists who never really learned to write, and who were ever only expected to score 800 maximum on their SATs.
The SAT is to be dumbed down to meet today’s students’ intellects, but where is the discussion of the larger ramifications of such an action? The President of the College Board said that today’s SAT test is “too stressful” for students; for, as everyone knows, life is devoid of stress. Students don’t need to be able to handle stress in real life; or to write; or use big words; and that’s the way it is now.
An Editorial By: Rebecca Savastio