Counselor, teacher react to elimination of SAT essay

Pivonka says removal will streamline application process

Couselor Mrs. Kathy Pivonka said families should be aware of upcoming college admissions deadlines.

Megaphone file photo

Couselor Mrs. Kathy Pivonka said families should be aware of upcoming college admissions deadlines.

Julia Hurley, Reporter

The College Board has announced that it would remove the essay portion from the SAT, a decision that will have an impact on composition classes and the college application process. 

According to English teacher Dr. Stephanie Kucsera, students who have already registered to take the SAT later this spring will have the option to take or cancel the essay portion. After the June exam, the essay portion will be cut completely.

The SAT essay consists of reading a short work and constructing a response meant to evaluate a students skill in examining an author’s purpose, among other tasks. 

With some units in the school’s one-semester composition class curriculum dedicated to learning how to write the SAT essay, Kucsera said that the removal of this test portion will free up time that can be reallocated to other writing tasks. Kucsera said, “This spring we will not focus on SAT writing, but we’ll still practice with the ACT and give students an opportunity to see how the questions are set up.” 

Kuscera said that the curriculum will give a taste of the education in freshman year of undergraduate school.

The English department’s composition teachers have met during recent Day 4 mornings to review the removal of the SAT essay and how this change will further impact what they teach in their classes. 

Unlike the SAT, the ACT still offers an essay portion. However, Ms. Kathy Pivonka, one of six school counselors, suspects the ACT will follow in the footsteps of the College Board.

Before the essay was officially removed from the SAT, the majority of colleges in the United States had dropped the essay requirement. Pivonka wrote in an email, “Our message to most students was that they were likely to not need the essay, but they should research the requirements for each of their schools.” 

Pivonka shared the same sentiment about subject tests, another component the SAT scrapped earlier this year. Subject tests are multiple-choice assessments based on English, history, languages, math and sciences meant to test your high school level knowledge across different areas. She said that the decision to do away with these test portions will take away a lot of guesswork, streamline the discussions the counselors have with students and allow students to focus on the more important aspects of college applications. 

Pivonka wrote in an email, “I am always in favor of decreasing the stress the college process places on students.”