SAT lets students pick scores

  • The College Board has a new option on the SAT that allows students more rights to their test scores.
  • College Board hopes to decrease student anxiety over the test.
  • Students have the option of sending only their best score, but some colleges will still want to see all test scores.

The College Board is introducing a new policy that will allow prospective college students to take the SAT as many times as they like, with the option of only submitting their best scores.

Starting in March of 2009, students will have the option of using Score Choice, which applicants to choose which scores to send colleges and which scores to omit.

Alana Klein, a communications and marketing officer at the College Board, said she thinks Score Choice will allow students to increase their scores by being able to take the test multiple times.

"The majority of students take the test once or twice and research has shown that there are significant score increases after the second time testing," Klein said. "We recommend that students take the test once or twice."

While students have the option of using Score Choice, colleges still have the right to ask students for all of their scores.

"Colleges will be responsible for setting their own score-use practices and students will be responsible for following those practices," Klein said.

While Score Choice gives students the opportunity to get the highest possible score, it also serves a psychological purpose.

"Score Choice was designed for students," Klein said. "(The College Board) said this feature would alleviate some of the stress associated with testing. Under the current policy, students have to send all scores. Now, with Score Choice, there will be the opportunity for more flexibility regarding which scores they send."

Annette Cleary, director of College Guidance at Marquette University High School, is very familiar with Score Choice.

Cleary said she felt it was only a matter of time for Score Choice to be put in place.

"The ACT has allowed students to choose for a long time," Cleary said. "Now (the tests) are in line with each other."

Cleary shares the same thoughts as the College Board regarding Score Choice lightening student stress.

"Students get nervous about sending their score history," Cleary said. "It leaves them wondering about their bad scores from their first few times."

Cleary said a number of schools still ask for all test scores, which can add to student stress.

"Some students get nervous when applying to highly selective schools," Cleary said. "I think people will be much more discerning when sending in their test scores."

Robert Blust, dean of admissions at Marquette, said Score Choice is not going to affect how admissions view scores.

"Our accepting test scores is not going to change," Blust said. "We have always taken the best score."

Blust does see how the option by the College Board will help students.

"I think Score Choice allows students some flexibility," Blust said. "A lot of students have wanted to have Score Choice, as it is certainly been in the interest of students to have more ownership of their test scores."

But Blust said Marquette has never taken a student's weaker scores into account.

"When dealing with Marquette it is always a benefit to the student to send all scores," Blust said. "We have always taken the best scores."

This is the first Score Choice of this nature. A version of Score Choice was available for the SAT Subject Tests in the late 1990's, but was eliminated in 2002, Klein said.