Starting in 2024, SAT college entrance exams are going digital. Supreme Court may roll back affirmative action in college admissions. Burkina Faso: Military announces junta has seized control.
Starting in 2024, SAT college entrance exams are going digital
Administrators announced today that students taking the SAT exam for college admission will be doing so digitally starting in 2024. Students will be able to take the exam using their own tablets or laptops. But they will have to write the exam in official testing sites rather than doing so from home. The test time will also shrink from about 3 hours down to 2. International students taking the test abroad will be doing so on their computers starting this year.
In recent years, standardized assessments like the SAT and ACT have carried less weight in college admissions decisions. Now, factors like overall student performance and extra-curricular activities are taking greater precedence. This is in part due to criticism that SAT and ACT-based admissions favor wealthier students who can afford pricey test prep courses. A drop in college enrolment since the start of the pandemic has further diminished the weight of standardized assessments. The private companies that administer the SAT and PSAT hope that by going digital, they can incorporate elements that will make the assessment more relevant.
Supreme Court may roll back affirmative action in college admissions
In other education news, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that challenges the constitutionality of race-based affirmative action in college admissions. Two lawsuits, challenging admissions criteria at Harvard and the University of North Carolina respectively, allege that racial quotas in college admissions unfairly limit opportunities for Asian-Americans. The court will probably hear the case in October.
Lower courts have found little evidence to support the claim that affirmative action unjustly discriminate against Asian-Americans. Asian-Americans currently account for 26% of Harvard’s freshman class and 21% of UNC’s. But Asian-Americans make up just 7.2% of the overall U.S. population. Many Asian-American student groups in fact oppose ending affirmative action.
Harvard’s formula for incorporating race as a factor in admissions decisions has long been upheld as a constitutional model. Race is just one of many so-called “plus factors” considered by the admissions board as part of a holistic evaluation of applicants.
Burkina Faso: Military announces junta has seized control
Overnight, the West African nation of Burkina Faso, a former French colonial possession, became the latest African nation to lose its fledgling democratic status. In 2015, Burkina Faso inaugurated its first democratically-elected government in years, led by President Roch Marc Christian Kabore.
The junta moved quickly, dissolving the legislative assembly and taking President Kabore into custody. The junta’s leaders say Kabore is safe but there is no word yet on his whereabouts or condition. The military also shut the country’s borders and suspended the constitution.
The announcement came after 48 hours of gunfire and uncertainty in the capital of Ouagadougou. But unlike similar military takeovers in Africa and elsewhere, the dissolution of the democratic government has been met with cheers and celebration by the populace. Burkina Faso has been plagued by terrorist activity and violence, for which many blamed the weakness of the government.
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