SAT changes

Today, the College Board announced how the SAT will change in two years.  The current test, which is now nine years old, has a 2400 point scale.  Current juniors and sophomores will continue to take this test. The new SAT is scheduled to take effect in 2016, so current freshmen will be the first to be assessed with the new version. How different will the test be?

First of all, the new test will revert to a 1600 point scale, like the SAT’s prior to 2005, so it will be probably have a shorter duration.  Furthermore, it will no longer have a guessing penalty.  That means a change in testing strategy, as current students lose 1/4 point for each incorrect answer.  On the future SAT test-takers will receive points based on correct answers only.

Test content will also change.  For example, the mandatory 25 minute essay will disappear.  The new SAT will have an optional 50 minute analytical essay.  In addition, the vocabulary words will be “more curriculum-focused,” meaning words that students tend to see in school (empirical, analytical) may appear. Reading selections will feature historical primary sources and scientific data.

Furthermore, calculators will be allowed for only certain parts of the math section. Students will be able to use Khan Academy to prepare for the exam because College Board will enlist their assistance for test preparation. Finally, the test will have a digital and paper format, so students will be able to take the test on a computer or on paper.

Will additional alterations occur?Will the test be a more accurate predictor of college success? Time will tell.




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