The College Board has recently announced that it will be changing the SAT. The new version will be implemented in the spring of 2016.
This new SAT will return to the 1600 point scale, as opposed to the current 2400 point scale. The time limit of the SAT, which currently takes 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete the Mathematics, Critical Reading, and Writing sections with a mandatory essay, will now be three hours to complete three sections of evidence-based reading, writing, and math with an added 50 minutes for an optional essay.
Vicki Chen (Fr.) said, “I like how it sounds. It’ll be a lot easier to score higher and to get a perfect score, but at the same time more people will do better so now the better scores won’t mean as much as they did. Getting a 2400 is amazing, and I feel like later, a 1600 will be only okay.”
The essay format will change, as it currently contains an unknown prompt in which students must use their own experiences or knowledge to answer the question asked. It will now give passages from text with a prompt simply asking how the author builds an argument. The prompt will always stay the same, but the passages will change with every test. This new essay section is designed to support high school students and teachers as they encourage close reading of text, careful analysis and clear writing. It is intended to promote the practice of reading a wide variety of arguments and analyzing how authors do their work as writers.
When students take the evidence-based reading and writing section of the redesigned SAT, they will be asked to interpret and use evidence found in a wider range of sources. These sources will not only be multi-paragraph passages from literature and literary nonfiction, but also informational graphics and texts from humanities, science, history and social studies.
The main goal of this newly redesigned SAT is to more closely reflect the real work of college and career where the command of evidence is more important.
“I think these changes are definitely beneficial and will indeed make the SAT more relevant to college performance. Additionally, although the essay is optional, I think colleges will still want to see it. The only problem is that this new format may make to harder to differentiate between applicants; as the new format makes the SAT easier,” said Kathy Guo (So.)
The math section of the SAT will focus in depth on three essential areas: problem solving and data analysis, algebra and advanced math. Problem solving and data analysis include using ratios, percentages and proportional reasoning to solve problems in science, social science and career contexts. The algebra focuses on linear equations and systems, and the advanced math will challenge the student’s familiarity with more complex equations and the manipulation they require.
Throughout the new SAT, students will be asked questions grounded in the real world meaning questions that are directly related to the work performed in college and careers in the real world. For example, America’s founding documents, which include the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, have all inspired a conversation today. Every time students take the redesigned SAT, they will encounter an excerpt from one of the Founding Documents or a text from the ongoing Great Global Conversation about freedom, justice and human dignity. In this way, the College Board hopes that this new SAT will inspire deep engagement with texts that matter and reflect not only what is important for college and careers, but what is important globally.
Sarah Stern (Jr.) said, “It sounds like they are making the test more practical which is good. The test should reward people who read and write, not just those who take the most extensive prep courses.”
Lastly, one of the biggest changes of the SAT is how right and wrong answers are counted. Currently, a student receives full points if he or she answers correctly, a deduction of points if the answer is wrong and no deductions of points if the question is left blank. Now, the new SAT will not deduct points for wrong answers, which will encourage students to guess and try for the correct answer rather than not answer the question at all in fear of being wrong.
Ms. Emily Pennington (College and Career Center) said, “It looks like they are trying to make the SAT more relevant, and they are trying to focus more on analytical skills, which sounds good. However, we won’t know until it’s given out and has been taken by students, which won’t happen for a couple of years. The point of the SAT was to determine success in college, and I think they realized the current SAT doesn’t really do that, so maybe this new SAT will.”
By REEMA BZEIH