College weighs SAT writing differently

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September 11, 2007

5:09 PM

__Dean of admissions says section weighed like an SAT II__

Two years after the creation of a writing section of the SAT, the College said that it considers it similar to the SAT II subject tests.

p. “The new writing portion is more like the old SAT subject test in writing,” Dean of Admissions Henry Broaddus said.

p. As such, the writing portion is taken into consideration in much the same way as subject tests.

p. “[The SAT II tests] are not required of applicants, but we take notice of them if they are submitted,” Broaddus added.

p. Beginning March 12, 2005, the College Board modified the SAT reasoning test by adding a new writing portion. The new version features an essay and more multiple-choice questions, adding an hour in total to the exam. According to the College Board, the new writing portion measures a student’s ability to clearly express ideas and to utilize appropriate word choice and sentence structure.

p. The College says that it continues to take a holistic approach when considering applicants.

p. “[The College is] keenly interested in a student’s voice, sense of self, thought process and point of view,” Broaddus said.

p. The essay on the SAT, unlike a personal essay, does not aptly measure any of these desired components. Instead, it tests one’s ability to form and present a coherent, grammatically correct essay.

p. “[Although] that’s useful information for an admission office to have, it’s no empirical substitute for what are subjective matters,” Broaddus said.

p. For similar reasons, the undergraduate writing requirement is no longer awarded based on SAT scores. Sharon Zuber, director of the Writing Resources Center, said that after the remodeling of the SAT several years ago, the College stopped using SAT scores to give writing credit or exemption.

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