Will South LA benefit from SAT upgrades?

Changes to the SAT, which will be implemented in Spring 2016, claim to make the test more accessible and might bring more to highly-ranked universities, such as USC. | Jordyn Holman

Changes to the SAT, which will be implemented in Spring 2016, claim to make the test more accessible and might bring more to highly-ranked universities, such as USC. | Jordyn Holman

Whenever the SAT gets revised, controversy trails close behind, especially regarding fairness across the board for test-takers from all backgrounds. Many educators have criticized the newest iteration of the test College Board announced this month, which is set to go into effect in two years. But some veteran educators are saying the revamped version holds promise.

Jennifer Hollie, who runs the college prep program for the Challengers Boys and Girls Club in South Los Angeles, feels optimistic about what the new format portends for students from disadvantaged communities.

“For [the College Board] to change the way the SAT is being written is a positive change,” said Hollie, who assists high school students from underserved communities with the college admission process by involving them in comprehensive programs.

“Even with my master’s degree I don’t always understand the words that they’re giving,” she said.

The revisions to the SAT include the elimination of obscure vocabulary words and the penalty for guessing wrong. It will also adapt the essay, which became mandatory in 2005, so that it is an optional test component, according to a College Board press release. The new SAT will have three sections, including reading and writing, math and the optional essay. It will be scored out of 1600 instead of 2400 points.  [Read more…]

New SAT still tough for minority and low-income students

SATThe SAT is getting another makeover and the College Board touts the test will be easier and more accessible to all students.

Unveiled last week, the standardized test will now contain more “relevant” vocabulary words, fewer math topics, an optional essay and an “evidence-based” reading and writing section. The Collage Board also promised that this test will give more minority and low-income students access to free online test prep resources and fee waivers.

But going back to a 1600-point scale, making an essay optional and offering more online classes won’t solve the access problems many of these students face when trying to take the test, some experts argue.

Click to hear their perspectives in an audio piece from Annenberg Radio News:

[Read more…]

Before starting life, you have to complete senior year

By Jennifer Macias and Nataly Flores, Fremont Magnet High School

Oh no! The SATs! The ACT! The AP tests! Finals! God, can life be any more complicated? Oh wait, it can: college applications. If I knew senior year year would be so difficult, I would have dropped out in kindergarten—JUST KIDDING! But I’m not kidding about the stress.

We don’t want to freak out incoming seniors, but eleventh grade and senior year are on two totally different levels. If you think finals are hard enough, just wait until you take a four-hour test that determines your future.

For those in the Magnet program at Manual Arts High School, you know that you’re expected to complete a “Life Plan” in Mr. Edwards’ government and economics class. This report is like no other report you have seen. It is a detailed project that encompasses the next ten years of your life after high school. When I say detailed–I mean it. The average length of the “Life Plan” is forty pages!

Another thing on a senior’s agenda is prom. Ah, prom, the night where seniors can finally let loose (but not too loose) and enjoy the fact that they are finally leaving high school. Girls spend a few months trying to find the perfect dress and guys spend a few months trying to find the perfect date.

Don’t think, however, that senior year is going to be a huge bomb that’s going to explode in your face. There are some days where stress is nowhere to be found. The company of your friends is really going to help relieve some of that stress. But then again, it’s difficult to party it all off when you have the ghost of the “Life Plan” looming about.

The “Life Plan” might seem like an extremely overwhelming task, but that is why you have a year to accomplish the project that should, in turn, help you have an idea about your life after high school.

Setting the “Life Plan” aside, which you shouldn’t do because procrastination will only hurt you, there are many projects that must be completed before graduating high school and starting life. You must first get through the tasks of standardized tests, college applications, prom and, of course, walking the stage!

Central Library helps prepare students for college

By: Stephanie Sherman

Listen to the audio story here:


Read the audio script here:

Today, the Central Library in downtown is kicking off its seventh year of SAT and ACT preparatory courses for students. Unlike other programs, this will not cost students anything. Martin Gomez is a librarian out of the Central Library.

“This is a unique program,” Gomez said. “There is no other public library that I know of, certainly in California, if not in the U.S., that offers such a free program.”

Lorena is one of the students taking the class. She says the program has given her new goals.

“It’s making me want to go to college, and it makes me want to experience more stuff in life,” Lorena said.

The course offers seminars, workbooks and several practice exams for students.