Are New Hampshire Students Now at a Disadvantage When they Take the SAT/ACT? - Granite Grok

Are New Hampshire Students Now at a Disadvantage When they Take the SAT/ACT?

With the recent announcement by the College Board to include adversity scores to the SAT, parents around the country are wondering if their children should sit for the assessment.

David Coleman, the mastermind of the failed Common Core standards currently serves as the College Board President.  Since Coleman began his tenure, there have been numerous problems surrounding the Advanced Placement and the SAT/ACT.  Since the adoption of Common Core in 2010, there has been backlash against the standards from parents, teachers, students and others who’ve had to deal with the controversial standards and tests.

New Hampshire adopted the Common Core Standards in 2010 and, then signed on to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium as the standardized assessment.  Due to the many problems that plagued the Smarter Balanced Assessment, there was pressure to replace it.  However, assessing poor quality Common Core standards will always be a problem because, the standards themselves are of poor quality to begin with. New Hampshire currently uses the Common Core Standards in spite of the public appeal to revise them.

After numerous complaints from parents about the Smarter Balanced Assessment, legislators pushed through a state law to replace the Smarter Balanced Assessment with the SAT/ACT.  HB 323 was signed into law by former Governor Maggie Hassan in 2015.

The New Hampshire Department of Education partnered with the College Board to offer the SAT to high school juniors.

Commissioner Virginia M. Barry announced today that the New Hampshire Executive Council approved the Department of Education’s plan to replace the 11th grade Smarter Balanced statewide assessment with the College Board’s SAT in the spring of 2016.

Instead of fixing the problem with Common Core, changing the assessment became the priority.

I opposed HB 323 because of the danger of putting a specific standardized assessment in state law.  Changing an assessment would become far more difficult if it a specific assessment is in state statute.

The College Board was also run by David Coleman at that time.  Coleman didn’t have a professional background in standards or assessments but was known for his political activism.  One could see how the standards were politicized by the U.S. Department of Education under President Obama when the former U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan coerced and bribed states into adopting the Common Core Standards.  What would happen to the College Board under Coleman? What would he do to the Advanced Placement?  What would he do to the SAT/ACT?

Since Coleman took over the College Board, there has been numerous issues with the AP and SAT/ACT. Now comes a new controversy, adversity scores.  How will New Hampshire students fare on the SAT with the new adversity scores? 

According to the Wall Street Journal, the SAT college entrance exam will evaluate students based on 15 nonacademic factors, including school and neighborhoods’ crime, income, and single-parent statistics.  Coleman expects pushback from parents who attend “well-to-do” high schools.

New Hampshire students score well on the Nations Report Card (NAEP). For instance, in mathematics, 8th grade students scored an average of 293 in 2017. Minnesota and Massachusetts were the only two states where students scored higher. Every other state reported a lower average for their students. Will this kind of achievement now work against New Hampshire students?

Some of the changes to the SAT will be kept secret.  The WSJ reported:

The College Board declined to say how it calculates the adversity score or weighs the factors that go into it. The data that informs the score comes from public records such as the U.S. Census as well as some sources proprietary to the College Board, [College Board President] Mr. Coleman said.

…Several college admissions officers said they worry the Supreme Court may disallow race-based affirmative action. If that happens, the value of the tool would rise, they said.

‘The purpose is to get to race without using race,’ said Anthony Carnevale, director of Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce. Mr. Carnevale formerly worked for the College Board…

Many problems centered around privilege and race based on the adversity score, is detailed in an article from The Federalist:

And ACT, which in recent years surpassed the SAT in college entrance exam market share, is developing its own system “to better judge the merit of students from under-served backgrounds,” a spokesman said. It appears the Classical Learning Test, a relatively new college entrance exam free of this fiddle-faddle and now accepted at more than 150 higher-education institutions, could not have arrived at a better moment.

Coleman, College Board’s president, joined the organization in 2012 after helping convince Bill Gates to bankroll Common Core and push the Obama administration to foist it upon the nation using a federal grant competition during the 2008-09 recession. Common Core is a nationalized system of K-12 curriculum content mandates and tests used in almost all public schools and many private schools. Coleman was a lead writer for Common Core’s English language arts mandates.

When he took the helm at College Board, Coleman immediately planned then executed a revamp of the organization’s many tests and curriculum products to better fit Common Core. His tenure has been marked by repeated controversies over College Board’s technical failures and a dramatic increase in ideological leftism, including openly leftist revisions to advanced U.S. and European history courses administered to hundreds of thousands of the nation’s brightest high school students every single year.

What does this mean for New Hampshire students heading to college?  The good news is that many colleges and universities are no longer considering the SAT for college admissions.  UNH recently announced they will no longer consider the SAT for admission to the University of New Hampshire:

DURHAM — The University of New Hampshire’s flagship campus is joining more than 1,000 colleges nationwide that no longer require prospective students to submit standardized test scores when they apply.

For those who are concerned that their New Hampshire residency will put their child at a disadvantage could skip it all together.  High School students are not required to take the state standardized assessment.  In fact, many already refuse the New Hampshire standardized tests.  Parents may want to check the colleges their child is interested in, before deciding whether to take the SAT/ACT.

Students who live in towns like Bedford, Hampton, Amherst, Bookline, Windham, and many others, may start out at a disadvantage before they sit down to take the SAT/ACT.
It’s also a good time to lobby your legislators to remove the SAT/ACT as the state standardized assessment for juniors.  You can find your elected representatives and senator here. Return this authority to the New Hampshire Commissioner of Education.  If the Commissioner chooses a standardized assessment that is riddled with problems, parents can take those concerns directly to the State Board of Education and ask the Commissioner to replace it.  Right now, it will take a repeal of the current law to replace the SAT.

Ann Marie Banfield has been researching education and working as an activist for over a decade. She has traveled to Concord to lobby on behalf of parental rights, literacy and, academic exellence. Working with experts in education from across the country, she offers valuable insight into problems and successes in education. She holds a B.A. in Business Management from Franklin University in Columbus Ohio. Ann Marie and her husband have three children and reside in Hampton, NH. Ann Marie Banfield  can be reached at banfieldannmarie@gmail.com