Major Changes to the SAT

Changes to the SAT, SAT Changes, SAT Overhauling

The SAT is being overhauled. It’s about time.

It’s rare when there is major breaking news in college admissions but there sure is today! Very significant changes are coming to the SAT — it’s going to be a major overhaul. The penalty for guessing wrong on questions? Out the window. The mandatory essay? It will now be optional. A total score of 1,600 (like in the old days) will be back! Strange vocabulary words? Gone. And how about the use of a calculator? The calculator will be banned from some math sections! And this is all just for starters. According to “The New York Times,” “David Coleman, president of the College Board, criticized his own test, the SAT and its main rival, the ACT, saying that both ‘have become disconnected from the work of our high schools.’ In addition, Mr. Coleman announced new programs to help low-income students, who will now be given fee waivers allowing them to apply to four colleges at no charge. And even before the new exam starts, the College Board, in partnership with Khan Academy, will offer free online practice problems from old tests and instructional videos showing how to solve them.”

The article in “The New York Times” goes on, “The changes coming to the exam are extensive: The SAT’s rarefied vocabulary words will be replaced by words that are common in college courses, such as ’empirical’ and ‘synthesis.’ The math questions, now scattered widely across many topics, will focus more narrowly on linear equations, functions and proportional thinking. The use of a calculator will no longer be allowed on some of the math sections. The new exam will be available on paper and computer, and the scoring will revert to the old 1600 scale, with a top score of 800 on math and what will now be called ‘Evidence-Based Reading and Writing.’ The optional essay will have a separate score.”

Coleman came to the College Board just a couple of years ago and one of his goals was to make the SAT more reflective of high school learning so that test-taking tactics and strategies could not be so easily employed (we doubt this will be the case — one can always master how to ace a test irrespective of changes to the exam). Anyhow, read more about the breaking, major changes to the SAT in the piece in “The New York Times.”

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2 Comments

  • James Anderson says:

    Another sign of the dumbing down of America. What isn’t publicized is the fact these changes were driven by activists groups who don’t think it is fair certain minorities have trouble competing on the SAT.

    • Bev Taylor says:

      We absolutely do not agree! We see this as a business decision. The College Board lost bragging rights in 2013 when over 2,000 more students took the ACT out of a pool of over 1.6 million test-takers.

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