Last fall, the College Board, administrators of the SAT, announced that change would be coming to its tests (PSAT & SAT) as of 2015. However, in December the organization sent an email to member schools stating that those changes will be delayed. Now, significant SAT changes will likely appear in spring, 2016. So, this year’s sophomores and juniors will take the current forms of the test, but freshmen will likely be the first to take the newest permutation of the exams. They will be the pioneers who experience the re-designed PSAT in the fall of 2015.
A little test history may be worthwhile here. Prior to 2005, the SAT had two sections, math and reading, each worth 800 points, for a perfect score of 1600. Then the College Board launched the “new” SAT adding an 800 point writing section, making the perfect score 2400. So the “new” SAT has been in use for nine years. Although the proposed changes for a “newer” SAT remain veiled in secrecy, some hints of the alterations have appeared, as well as some potential reasons for those changes.
According to their statement, the College Board aims to develop a test that ”best serves higher education and propels students toward success in college and work.” Thus, it should be more curriculum-based. Currently, the ACT claims that its test is the one more closely aligned to the school curricula. Could it be pure coincidence that the College Board seeks change at the precise time when more students chose to take the ACT than the SAT?
The implementation of the Common Core probably also affects the college entrance exam. The president of the College Board has stated, “”The heart of the revised SAT will be analyzing evidence.” For example, the emphasis on non-fiction reading and writing in the schools will be reflected on the new test. Furthermore, the test will probably feature more reasoning skills like proportions and linear equations. The College Board president has also alluded to his dissatisfaction with “abstruse” vocabulary, so changes will likely occur in that section as well. Will these changes restore the SAT as the favored college entrance exam? Only time will tell.