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How Standardized Prep Tests Have Changed in the USA

From the DESK of Serghio Adams, CEO of Brothers Building Blocks


Hello, Brothers Building Blocks community! Today, let's take a stroll through history, diving into the intriguing evolution of standardized prep tests in the United States. As we navigate the rich tapestry of education, understanding the origins and changes of these tests gives us valuable insights into the educational landscape.




The Beginnings of Standardized Testing

The roots of standardized testing go back to the early 20th century. In 1926, the College Board introduced the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) as a way to gauge a student's ability to succeed in college. It was a groundbreaking concept, aiming to level the playing field by offering a standardized measure of academic readiness.


The SAT vs. ACT Debate

In the following decades, the SAT faced competition from the American College Testing (ACT) program, introduced in 1959. This sparked a nationwide debate about which test truly measured a student's readiness for college. The dichotomy between the two tests persists to this day, with students often choosing based on regional preferences or personal strengths.


Changing Formats and Overcoming Challenges

Over the years, both the SAT and ACT underwent various changes to adapt to evolving educational philosophies. Additions of optional essay sections, adjustments to scoring systems, and the removal of penalties for incorrect answers are ongoing efforts to refine the testing process.


Criticisms and Challenges

While standardized tests aimed to provide an objective assessment, they haven't been without controversy. Critics argue that these tests may perpetuate socio-economic disparities and fail to capture a student's true potential. The ongoing debate surrounding the efficacy of standardized testing continues to shape educational policies and practices.


Navigating Change: Brothers Building Blocks' Approach

At Brothers Building Blocks, we acknowledge the role of standardized tests in education. However, our approach goes beyond a narrow focus on test scores. We emphasize holistic preparation, incorporating personalized strategies that nurture critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and emotional intelligence.


References and Sources

  1. Lemann, N. (1999). "The Big Test: The Secret History of the American Meritocracy." Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

  2. Popham, W. J. (2011). "Test Better, Teach Better: The Instructional Role of Assessment." ASCD.

  3. College Board. "SAT Suite of Assessments: The SAT." College Board

  4. ACT, Inc. "The ACT Test: US Students." ACT

Embracing Holistic Education

While acknowledging the historical significance of standardized tests, Brothers Building Blocks advocates for a holistic approach to education. We prioritize preparing students not just for exams but for the varied challenges of life beyond the classroom.

In the ever-evolving landscape of education, let's continue to adapt and innovate, ensuring that our methods empower students to thrive in an increasingly complex world.


Thank you for being part of our educational journey!


Serghio Adams, CEO, Brothers Building Blocks


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