Steven R. Cohen, the superintendent of the Shoreham-Wading River School District in Long Island, is unimpressed by the changes to the SAT.

They will still strike fear and terror in the hearts of students.

They will still be arbiters of access to higher education.

They will still be graded and normed on a bell curve, so that the same proportion of students are at the top and at the bottom.

They will no longer include an essay section.

They will be aligned with the Common Core, no surprise since David Coleman, president of the College Board (which sponsors the SAT), was “architect” of the Common Core standards.

He writes:

Among other things, Mr. Coleman tells us that to teach these important standards properly, students must have considerable time to read and re-read texts, time to discuss the words and sentences used in the text, time to write about the meaning of the words in the text and time to edit what they write. One problem with the “new” and “fairer” SAT is that it uses multiple-choice questions to assess whether students understand the meaning of words in texts instead of having students write about such meanings — the skill Mr. Coleman insists is the signature skill of the Common Core. To make matters worse, the new SAT has a writing section but it is optional. So the “new” and “fairer” SAT, one that will reflect what actually goes on in high school classrooms, will not, in fact, adhere to the new Common Core State Standards as described by the very person who created both.

Superintendent Cohen concludes:

….according to Mr. Coleman and the state Board of Regents, the “new” and “fairer” SAT is oriented to higher, better standards that will prepare students to be “college and career ready.” Common Core State Standards, we are told, are also a complete set of standards, in addition to being better. However, if one looks at assessments used by some of the most renowned universities in the world — schools like Oxford University in England — one finds that they adhere to standards ignored by “higher” Common Core State Standards. For example, if one wanted to study, say, history at Oxford, one would have to take a test that assesses not only clear and precise writing via a real writing test; the content would have to demonstrate what Oxford calls “historical imagination” as well as “originality.” Nowhere in our new, vaunted Common Core State Standards are teachers told to be concerned with nurturing young people’s imaginations or their original thoughts about the books they read, about the way nature works, about whether our government’s policies are good or bad, about whether the Pythagorean theorem could be used to help design a better bridge over the Hudson river, or whether “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Nor will the “new” and “fairer” SAT ask students to write about such matters.

The “new” and “fairer” SAT is neither. And the Common Core State Standards assessed by this new test do not include, contrary to what many seem to believe, nurturing young people’s imaginations or originality: yet another instance of the profound cynicism of contemporary education “reform.”