Why the SAT excludes a specific science portion

Aili Mayfield, Staff Writer

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     As the SAT/PSAT approaches, on April 9th, students and teachers are preparing for the big day. English and math are very prominent on the SAT and take up almost the entire test. On the other hand, there doesn’t seem to be an actual “science” or “history” portion on the test. This, however, does not mean that these subjects aren’t on the test, it just means that they are a little harder to find than the other subjects.    

  In order to include subjects like science and/or history on the SAT/PSAT, students are required to read passages about events in history, or scientific discoveries, and then analyze the passage as part of the english section. Students may also analyze scientific data in a chart or a graph for the math portion.

  Surprisingly, the fact that these subjects aren’t exclusively represented on the test, does not offend teachers. In fact, they understand why these subjects aren’t their own section.

  “The SAT is a test that measures what you have learned, and so to put a science section on it would be extraordinarily difficult. Science is not a collection of facts, yes you can memorize things. But science in the real world is people actually looking at things,” stated biology teacher Kelly Boone.

  Boone feels that there is really no accurate way to test science on a standardized test, and she can see how difficult it could be to do so.

  “How do you give kids a standardized test that tests their ability to ask a question, or to form a hypothesis, or defend their ideas? Kids are not standardized, you guys aren’t standardized people, so it doesn’t make sense to me,” Boone said.

  Even if there was a specific science portion, it is unsure what would even be asked of students to answer. Most of the science-based questions are tested on tests like the MEAP, or more recently known as the MSTEP.

  “As far as putting a science portion on there, what would we ask you? Would we ask you facts, and then you’re just spitting facts back out? If you ask a physics question, most of you haven’t have physics since 9th grade, so that would also be tricky,” explained Boone.

  Having a science portion, could be helpful, but at the same time it may be unnecessary.

  “Science shows up in the reading, and it shows up in the data interpretation. If you’re going to truly assess whether kids know science, it would have to be a performance based assessment, so you would have to be doing something,” Boone said.

  This type of testing would be helpful, however it would be a massive undertaking, which would make it very difficult to accomplish.







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