In a past blog, I explained the changes that the College Board intends for the SAT starting in 2016. It will be much more like the current ACT. For example, the NEWEST SAT will revert to the 1600 point format that existed prior to 2005. Moreover, it will no longer have a guessing penalty. Thus, the test-taking strategies for the SAT will change. With regard to content, it will have an optional rather than a mandatory essay. (For additional details, refer to my April 17, 2014 blog post, entitled “College Board releases information for new SAT.” )
Not to be outdone, the developers of the ACT recently announced an update scheduled to begin next year. While the general format of the test (4 sections: English, Reading, Science and Math) and the scoring (ranging from 1-36 for each section) will remain unchanged, students will have the option of the delivery system; they will have the opportunity to take the test online.
In addition, some content changes will also occur. The organization maintains that these modifications will occur gradually. The proposed content changes include the following: The essay prompt will be more complex; the reading section will include more non-fiction informational reading, including paired passages; and the math section will provide more of an emphasis on statistics and probability. Thus, the distinctions between the SAT and ACT may become less obvious.
Furthermore, the newer ACT will provide additional information, such as supplemental scores for STEM, Language Arts, career readiness, and test complexity. It will address some questions aligned with the Common Core. The reasoning behind this change is evident in an ACT statement on its website: “ACT has collected and reported data on students’ academic readiness for college since 1959. This legacy allows us to boldly declare that not enough students are ready for today’s demands. Which means our nation’s kids can’t count on future success.”
Historically, the ACT has been the test that appeared to align more closely to school standards. Perhaps the ACT will become instrumental in raising those standards, so our students can become globally competitive.