College Board has startled the education world with its announcement of major changes in its new and improved 2016 SAT
By Julie Smith
College Board, the creator of the scholastic aptitude test, made an announcement that it will introduce what it calls a ‘new and improved’ SAT starting April 16, 2016. Students of the current sophomore and freshman classes will be the first to tackle the new format, and College Board believes their experience will be a positive one.
“When students open their SAT test books in spring 2016, they’ll encounter an SAT that is more focused and useful than ever before,” said Collegeboard.com
According to College Board, the new SAT will offer a more accurate reflection of what is taught in today’s classrooms, thus being a more accurate assessment of college readiness and success than todays outdated model of the test. The redesigned SAT is centered on five key changes, which very closely resemble the ACT’s testing model
“I saw this coming from the get go,” Judy Bracken, George Mason’s college and career specialist said, “the new SAT is almost exactly like the ACT.
The new test is essentially the same as the ACT. The essay section is optional, points aren’t deducted for wrong answers, and while the ACT doesn’t have vocabulary, the SAT will still have more common vocabulary
The new test will require students to master only relevant vocabulary, whereas the current SAT requires students to spend hours by flashcards memorizing out-of-date and obscure words that they will simply forget the moment they finish the exam. The new SAT will replace the out of date vocabulary with vocabulary that is more often used in classrooms.
There will be no penalty for wrong answers. Currently, the SAT marks off a whole quarter of a point for any incorrectly answered question. College Board is changing this method for the 2016 SAT as it discourages guessing. The new method will allow students to feel confident that they can always try to provide their best answer to every problem, on the test and beyond.
There will also no longer be a required essay. The current SAT requires students to plan, write, and edit an essay all in just 25 minutes. Test makers now believe this to be an inaccurate representation of real world writing and are doing away with it. The new essay will be optional and students who do chose to take it will be given 50 minutes, instead of 25, to plan, craft, and edit their writing.
The new SAT will move back to a 1600-point scale, merging the current sections of critical reading and writing into one new section called evidence-based reading and writing. This redesigned section will more accurately reflect the work of college and career, where a flexible command of evidence is essential.
The new math section will focus on three key areas, problem solving and data analysis, the heart of algebra, and passport to advanced math. Test makers believe that these areas contribute the most to college and career readiness, and that that an understanding of them is essential for most majors and degrees.
“The change is definitely due to the SAT losing market share,” Bracken said. “More kids were taking the ACT, and the SAT definitely noticed, California was even thinking of having its state schools not require the SAT any longer.”
College Board realizes that the old SAT format might not be as beneficial for students in the long run. The re-designed test is supposed to help students better prepare for their lives in college and beyond by using relevant context and questions. Additionally students who will take this test currently have a full two years notice of the changes so that they will be more fully prepared.