Big Changes Coming to the SAT in 2016

A redesigned SAT will debut in the spring of 2016 with more "relevant" vocabulary words, a return to the old 1600 scoring scale, an "optional" essay and new policies to help low- and middle-income students. David Coleman, president of the College Board announced the changes, citing the fact that only 20% of teachers see the test as a fair measure of the work students have done in school.

            The big news?

  •        The essay isn't gone, but it's optional and will be scored separately. Students will be asked to read a passage and analyze how its author used evidence, reasoning and stylistic elements to build an argument. The essay will be scored on the strength of that analysis, as well as writing ability.
  •        There will still be three sections: "evidence-based" reading and writing, mathematics and the essay.  "Evidence based" simply means students will be asked to back up answers with specific passages from the readings and will be asked to analyze both text and data. The test will also include passages from historical documents crucial to the nation’s founding, from sources such as President Abraham Lincoln, the Declaration of Independence or the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
  •        Overall scoring will return to the iconic 1600 scale, based on a top score of 800 in both reading and math.
  •        "SAT words" are out. Vocabulary words more widely used in classroom and work settings will replace more obscure words.That means you won't see "depreciatory" on the test but you will see "synthesis."
  •        The test will be available on computer and paper -- a move the ACT made this year.
  •        The "guessing penalty" will be eliminated. Students will no longer have a quarter point deducted for each incorrect answer. 
  •        Math questions will focus on data analysis, problem solving, algebra and topics leading into advanced math with emphasis on linear equations; complex equations or functions; and rations, percentage and proportional reasoning. Calculators will no longer be permitted on every section, but will be barred in some parts of the test to help gauge proficiency.

In addition, the College Board will provide admission-fee waivers directly to financially eligible students who will no longer have to go through high school counselors. And the organization will partner with Khan Academy to provide free online test prep, including instructional videos.

Stay tuned for more information. But remember, none of these changes will take place prior to 2016! Until then, it's business as usual on the SAT.



Business as usual, indeed!

And so, the SAT slowly morphs once again. Scholastic ACHIEVEMENT Test --> Scholastic APTITUDE Test --> Screw the ACT Test!

College Board, once king over its own domain, is now down to a mere 50% of the market share, give or take a percentage point. Hmm. What to do?

If the SATs, as currently constituted, are "filled with unproductive anxiety," and "have become disconnected from the work of our high schools," as College Board President David Coleman unwittingly concedes, shouldn't the test be suspended until the new exam comes into play in 2016?

How about a refund for anyone who paid for the SAT since College Board first announced this latest revival of an alleged -- and more than highly suspect -- "measure" of academic promise?

"A fair measure of the work students have done in school?' Not a chance. Avarice is to College Board as, well, you make your own analogy. Any way you slice the pie, it's all about the money!

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