COMIC STRIP: The pros and cons of standardized tests

Editorial Cartoon Comic Panels #1-4 above

The old SAT

Pro: The current SAT permits the use of calculators for the math sections, which only requires knowledge up to Algebra II. The pre-March SAT will still give argumentative essays; these essays are generally easier for students since they have practiced them as part of the school curriculum.

Con: It has a one-fourth guessing penalty for each of the five choice questions. The reading  also focuses mainly on college-level passages with excessive amounts of difficult comprehension and literary analysis.


The new SAT

Pro: The guessing penalties from the old SAT will be removed and each question will be given  four answer choices. The test will also become available digitally for those who are more comfortable taking it on a device.

Con: Math requirements for the new 2016 SAT will reach pre-calculus, making it increasingly difficult for high school students who have not reached this level of math. Calculators will not be permitted on certain sections and students will have less time to answer each question.


The old PSAT

Pro: The old PSAT gave students 125 questions with a total of three components: reading, writing, and math. The test revolved around heavy vocabulary use, which made preparations more straight-forward.

Con: Although the old PSAT gave students less questions, it gave students less time as well: 62 seconds per question. Like the SAT, the 2014 PSAT utilized a guess penalty on each five-answer choice question.


The new PSAT

Pro: The new PSAT provides students with useful questions and articles applicable to real life; thus, enhancing problem solving skills. The 2016 PSAT no longer scores with penalties for each mistake, but with right-only scoring–no more penalties.

Con: It offers 138 questions, 14 more than the old PSAT. It focuses heavily on mathematics, encouraging deeper thinking and more logical reasoning to answer each question; reading passage length is increased.


New Common-Core tests

Pro: The Common Core tests allow teachers to monitor the progress of students and help them acknowledge students in need. Furthermore, it’ll test a wide range of skills that are applicable to real-life situations, unlike the tests given before the common core was introduced.

Con: It is a test taken entirely online; students cannot take it if the school cannot afford the necessary technology: laptops, chromebooks and etc. Preparations for the test is difficult since Common Core standards are broad and not very specific.

By Richard Zhang, Staff writer

Editorial Cartoon by Amy Lo