College & Workforce Readiness Letter to the Editor

What Can You Measure in Five Minutes? Ask the Students

August 04, 2015 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

I just performed a Google search motivated by a small and unobtrusively placed news story. I searched, “College Board SAT test timing misprint.” If you don’t have a child experiencing the dreadful throes of college preparation and testing, this particular story might have slipped right by you. The College Board admitted that there was a mistake in the timing information provided for the last section of a recent SAT.

Reading-test booklets incorrectly stated that 25 minutes was allotted for the last reading section, while the proctor’s manual and script noted the correct time of 20 minutes. Students taking the last math section in the same room were also affected by the error.

In the world of standardized testing, this is a huge mistake. Students who have spent months preparing for this life-changing test are upset and anxious. They are worried they will they lose their competitive edge against the other millions of students seeking college admission. These students, and in many cases their parents, have prepared, trained, and studied. Now that work is in jeopardy, due to a typographical error that may—or may not—have provided five extra minutes of time, depending on the proctor’s decision in the classroom.

The College Board has dropped these two sections in students’ score calculations.

What I want to address is how we reached a point in our educational process where the existence, or lack thereof, of five minutes of testing has become so overwhelmingly crucial to the future of these aspiring students. What does this dilemma tell us about the misguided weight placed on standardized testing?

If we have reached a point in academics where we fear that admission decisions are affected by five minutes on a standardized test, then I suggest we take those same five minutes to question the way these scores are determining the futures of our talented youths.

Mindy Fivush Levine

Dallas, Texas

A version of this article appeared in the August 05, 2015 edition of Education Week as What Can You Measure in Five Minutes? Ask the Students


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
IT Infrastructure Webinar
A New Era In Connected Learning: Security, Accessibility and Affordability for a Future-Ready Classroom
Learn about Windows 11 SE and Surface Laptop SE. Enable students to unlock learning and develop new skills.
Content provided by Microsoft Surface
Classroom Technology K-12 Essentials Forum Making Technology Work Better in Schools
Join experts for a look at the steps schools are taking (or should take) to improve the use of technology in schools.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Budget & Finance Webinar
The ABCs of ESSER: How to Make the Most of Relief Funds Before They Expire
Join a diverse group of K-12 experts to learn how to leverage federal funds before they expire and improve student learning environments.
Content provided by Johnson Controls

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

College & Workforce Readiness What the Research Says 12th Graders Took Harder Courses and Got Higher GPAs, But Test Scores Fell. What Gives?
A federal study finds that improvements in high school students' course-taking and GPAs did not lead to higher NAEP scores.
2 min read
Image of data.
College & Workforce Readiness Opinion 5 Ways Rural School Leaders Can Create Workforce Opportunities for Students
The key to offering high-quality, work-based learning opportunities to students in rural areas is community building.
Charles V. Khoury
5 min read
Screen Shot 2022 01 26 at 7.08.02 AM
College & Workforce Readiness What the Research Says The COVID Academic Slide Could Be Worse Than Expected
Across grades, subjects, and schools, lost learning is adding up for students, new studies find.
4 min read
Image of a line moving from point A in a disrupted path.
Serhii Brovko/iStock/Getty
College & Workforce Readiness Spotlight Spotlight on Inspiring Innovation Through STEM Education
This Spotlight will empower you on ways to include more students of color, locate gifted students in unexpected places, and more.