Why Vocabulary is now more important on the SAT
Whether wittingly or unwittingly, the College Board has misrepresented the type of vocabulary and knowledge that students need for the New SAT. The New SAT, says its creators, will no longer require students to learn the difficult words that were the hallmark of the old SAT. In an attempt to explain why students will no longer have to know "obscure" words, David Coleman, President of the College Board said: "I think when you think about vocabulary on exams, you know, how SAT words are famous as the words you will never use again? You know, you study them in high school and you’re like, gosh, I’ve never seen this before, and I probably never shall. Why wouldn’t it be the opposite? Why wouldn’t you have a body of language on the SAT that’s the words you most need to know and be ready to use again and again? Words like transform, deliberate, hypothesis, right?"
In other words, according to the New SAT's authors, kids can now throw out those old SAT vocabulary flash cards filled with words like euphonious and recrudescence. The New SAT is here, and the words are much more fair. Whoo!!!That's a load off of the brain.
Ahhh, but not so fast. For while the New SAT does in fact require a more nuanced knowledge of academic vocabulary or words that students are most likely to encounter in college level texts, the test demands as much knowledge of "obscure" terms as the old test did.
Here's proof from one of the reading passages on the new test:
"To avoid...the evils of inconstancy and versatility, ten thousand times worse than those of obstinacy and the blindest prejudice, we have consecrated the state, that no man should approach to look into its defects or corruptions but with due caution; that he should never dream of beginning its reformation by its subversion; that he should approach to the faults of the state as to the wounds of a father, with pious awe and trembling solicitude."
How simple is that? And which of those words will students have to "use again and again"?
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