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SAT考试变脸之谜

2014-03-12    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

从2016年开始,SAT考试将重新实行1600分制,写作将成为选考科目,同时也将取消答错题倒扣分制度。SAT为什么突然作出这么重大的改变?最重要的原因是,从参考人数来看,SAT考试已经被它的竞争对手ACT甩在了后面。SAT祭出改革大旗,正是为了卷土重来。

When the College Board announced on Wednesday that it was overhauling the SAT, president David Coleman said the changes were aimed at aligning the exam with what students were learning in high school, eliminating the test's trickery, and deemphasizing the importance of expensive test-prep services.
美国大学理事会(College Board)上周三对外宣布,SAT考试(学术能力评估测试)即将迎来一些重大变革。理事会总裁大卫•科尔曼说,这些变化是为了让考试内容更加契合学生们在高中学习的知识,消除考题的欺骗性,让昂贵的备考服务变得不那么重要。

As of 2016, the SAT will revert to a 1600-point scale by making the essay portion optional. It will also stop detracting points for wrong answers, which had, in essence, penalized students for guessing. The College Board is also teaming up with Khan Academy to create free online test-prep courses it says will help even the test-prep playing field.
从2016年开始,SAT考试将重新实行1600分制,写作部分将成为选考科目。它也将取消答错题倒扣分制,因为倒扣分数其实是惩罚学生猜测答案的行为。此外,美国大学理事会还将与可汗学院(Khan Academy)联手推出免费的SAT在线培训课程,称这样做将有助于创造公平的备考环境。

"If we believe that assessment must be a force for equity and excellence, it's time to shake things up," Coleman said on Wednesday.
科尔曼周三说:“如果我们认为评估必须成为一股追求公平和卓越的力量,那么现在是时候做出一些改变了。”

That's all well and good, but make no mistake, the decision to alter the SAT is a calculated business move. The SAT has fallen behind its rival, the ACT, in popularity, and its new format is an attempt to claw its way back to dominance.
这些措施当然很好,但请不要搞错,变革SAT考试的决定其实是一个经过深思熟虑的商业行为。SAT考试的受欢迎程度已经落后于它的竞争对手ACT(美国大学入学考试),采用新题型正是为了卷土重来,夺回昔日的主导地位。

The SAT, or Scholastic Aptitude Test, had long been the preferred method of measuring high school students' college readiness. Its inception at Princeton University and its initial popularity on the East Coast automatically associated it with elite education. It first hit the 1 million test-takers mark in 1957, and its popularity continued to grow during the rest of the 20th century. In 2000, 1,260,278 students sat for the exam.
很长时间以来,SAT考试一直是衡量高中生是否适合升入大学的首选方式。SAT考试首先被普林斯顿大学(Princeton University)采用,随即迅速风靡东海岸,这就自动地把它与精英教育联系在一起。1957年,SAT考试的应试者首次突破100万人次大关,受欢迎程度在20世纪剩下的时间里持续攀升。2000年,有1,260,278名学生参加了这项考试。

Soon after its birth, the SAT found a fierce opponent in the ACT, which stands for American College Testing. The ACT was created by an Iowa State professor in 1959 to assess students' practical knowledge. While the ACT has always been a legitimate competitor to the SAT, it lacked the SAT's prestigious reputation, and, for a time, its popularity was limited mostly to the Midwest. Just over 1 million students took the ACT in 2000.
SAT诞生后不久,ACT就成为它的一个强硬对手。爱荷华州立大学( Iowa State)一位教授于1959年创建ACT考试,用以评估学生的实践性知识。尽管ACT一直是SAT不敢忽视的竞争对手,但它缺乏SAT考试的显赫声誉。而且在相当长时间里,ACT的市场主要局限在中西部。2000年,有100万多一点的学生参加了ACT考试。

But after 2000, the ACT began to gain ground over the SAT. One major factor gave it that boost: the statewide administration of the ACT.
但2000年以后,ACT 开始呈现出反超SAT的势头。其中一个主要推动因素就是州政府的参与。

To fulfill commitments to college readiness and to meet the requirements of the 2001 No Child Left Behind act, which requires high schools to test students in math, reading, and science at least once during their secondary education, states adopted the ACT as an achievement exam. Just a few years prior, the ACT had introduced college readiness standards, which tied students' scores to actual skills. Before that, a student's score only meant something when compared to a peer's results. "States came to us looking for a better solution to statewide exams," says Ed Colby, spokesman for the ACT. "They were looking for a way to assess their state curriculum and learning standards and motivate students to do their best, and they knew that the ACT was curriculum-based."
为了履行让学生做好上大学准备的承诺,同时达到2001年通过的《不让一个孩子掉队》法案(No Child Left Behind)的要求——这项法案要求高中在中学教育阶段至少测试一次学生的阅读能力、数学能力和科学素养——许多州开始把ACT作为标准考核测试。就在此前几年,ACT推出了上大学准备标准,将考试成绩同实际应用能力挂钩。在此之前,一位学生的分数只有跟其他学生比较时才有意义。“许多州认为我们能够为全州统考提供一种更好的解决方案,”ACT发言人埃德•科尔比说。“他们希望找到一种能够评估本州课程和学习标准、同时还可以激励学生努力学习的方式,他们知道ACT是一项根据课程设计的考试。”

Colorado and Illinois signed on to administer the test statewide in 2001. Michigan and Kentucky committed to it in 2007, and Wyoming had done so by 2009. Now, 13 states administer the ACT to public high school students, with Missouri, Wisconsin, and one additional state (whose commitment is not yet public) expected to do so next year. The SAT, meanwhile, is administered by three states -- Maine, Delaware, and Idaho.
2001年,科罗拉多州和伊利诺伊州与ACT签约,开始在全州范围内组织管理这项考试。密歇根州和肯塔基州于2007年开始推行这项考试;2009年,怀俄明州也开始了同样的行动。现在,全美有13个州面向公立高中学生组织管理ACT考试。密苏里州,威斯康星州和另一个州(它还没有公开承诺)预期将在来年加入这一阵营。相比之下,目前仅有3个州在组织管理SAT考试,分别是缅因州、特拉华州和爱达荷州。

The statewide administration of the ACT is a win across the board for all parties involved. Students in those states are automatically signed up for the test for free and can use their results on college applications. (The ACT normally costs $36.50; the ACT with optional essay is $52.50. It currently costs $52 to sit for the SAT.) Included in the pool of test-takers are students who might not have enrolled on their own.
由州政府组织管理ACT考试对所有相关方都有利。这些州的学生都将自动免费报名,而且可以用他们的成绩申请大学。(ACT考试通常花费36.50美元,如果选考作文,费用将增至52.50美元,目前参加SAT考试需要支付52美元。)应考者中也包括一些自己并没有报名的学生。

"It raises college awareness," says Paul Weekly, the ACT's vice president of customer engagement.
“它提升了学生对大学的了解程度,”ACT考试客户互动事务副总裁保罗•维克利说。

Students are more motivated to do well on the ACT as compared to a general statewide exam since admission to the college of their choice is at stake. And, of course, it gives the ACT more relevance and a leg up on its competition. After all, if your child is signed up to take the ACT for free by default, why would you as a parent pay for the SAT when most universities accept either score?
相比于一般的全州统考,学生们更加重视ACT考试,力争取得好成绩,因为考试成绩直接关系到他们能否进入理想的大学。这一点当然使得ACT考试更有意义,同时给它带来了更大的竞争优势。毕竟,如果你的孩子可以自动报考免费的ACT考试,做父母的为什么要掏钱让他参加SAT考试,特别是大多数大学同时认可这两项考试的时候?

The end result is that more students than ever are taking the ACT. It surpassed the SAT in popularity in 2012 when 1,666,017 students sat for the exam, compared to the 1,664,479 who took the SAT, according to data collected by The National Center for Fair and Open Testing. Last year the number of ACT test-takers reached 1,799,243 -- a figure that included for the first time students who needed special accommodations -- while the number of students who took the SAT actually dropped by about 4,000.
最终的结果是,现在参加ACT考试的学生比以往任何时候都多。根据美国公平与公开考试中心(The National Center for Fair and Open Testing)提供的数据,2012年,有1,666,017名学生参加了这项考试,普及程度一举超越了SAT,后者的参考人数为1,664,479。去年,ACT的应考者达到1,799,243人(这项统计数字首次包括了有特殊住宿需要的学生),而参加SAT的学生数量却下降了4,000人。

By changing its format, the SAT is trying to regain market share. "If you want to see the new SAT, take a look at the ACT -- there's no guessing penalty or esoteric words and the essay is optional," says Bob Schaeffer, the director of public education at Fair and Open Testing. "The SAT has fallen from first place. It's been overtaken by the ACT that has more market appeal, is more consumer friendly, and has sharper salesmanship."
SAT考试试图通过改变题型夺回市场份额。“如果你想了解新版SAT考试,你只需看一看ACT就知道了。没有猜错答案的罚分,也没有深奥的单词,作文将成为选考项目,”公平与公开考试中心公共教育主管鲍勃•谢弗说。“SAT已经失去了头把交椅,它已经被更具市场号召力、考试服务更友好、营销策略更有效的ACT考试甩在了后面。”

Both the College Board and ACT, Inc. are non-profit organizations, but there's plenty of money at stake in this battle of the tests. The College Board reported total revenue of $759 million in 2012 when it filed its most recent 990 form. ACT Inc. brought in $302.5 million that same year, according to its 990 form.
大学理事会和ACT考试公司(ACT, Inc.)都是非营利性组织,但这场考试之争事关大量的金钱。大学理事会递交的最近一份报税表(即990表格)显示,这个机构在2012年的总收入为7.59亿美元。根据ACT考试公司的报税表,这家公司同一年的营收总额为3.025亿美元。

During its early days, the SAT was intended to measure young people's aptitude, says Nicholas Lemann, a professor at the Columbia School of Journalism and author of The Big Test: The Secret History of the American Meritocracy. "But as soon as the College Board got super-sized because of the success of the SAT, it had to think about how many customers it had in addition to its lofty nonprofit mission."
哥伦比亚大学新闻学院(Columbia School of Journalism)教授、《大测试:美国英才教育秘史》( The Big Test: The Secret History of the American Meritocracy)一书作者尼古拉斯•莱曼指出,在成立初期,SAT考试的主要目的在于衡量年轻人的天资。“但随着SAT考试的成功,大学理事会的体量变得硕大无比。这个时候,这家机构就必须思考它需要增加多少客户才能实现自己崇高的非营利性使命这个问题。”



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