Big changes for 2016, say hello to a new SAT

David Coleman, the College Board president, said, “It is time for an admissions assessment that makes it clear that the road to success is not last-minute tricks or cramming, but the learning students do over the year. The SAT will no longer stand apart from daily studies and learning.”

Changes are coming for the class of 2016. Affecting this year’s freshmen, the College Board announced a revision for the national testing of the SATs. The test will return to the old score of 1600 and drop the essay requirement. This new SAT is rumored to have fewer abstruse vocabulary words. The officials of the College Board plan to base the test on what was taught in high school. Students will be tested on their ability to think rather than innate test-taking skills. Coleman claims students will be faced with, “worthy challenges, not artificial obstacles.”

“I think it’s unfair that they’re not changing the test sooner. We have to take this version while other students get the improved test” said a junior.

It is still up for debate whether the test will be “improved” or “better” than what juniors and seniors are taking now, but the SAT still comes down to a single principle: it is a necessary evil.

More than 1.5 million students take the SATs each year. Out of those 1.5 million, the average score of a basic SAT is 1520 out of 2400. With the perfect score dropping to a 1600, College Board hopes to see improvements and more success among students.

The last change to the SAT was back in 2005 when College Board added the essay to the writing section. Moreover, College Board plans to eliminate what one would call “SAT words”: obscure vocabulary like “punctilious” and “phlegmatic” that cause last-minute flashcard sessions. College Board aims to solely introduce relevant words utilized in college and career.

Currently, the SAT takes three hours and 45 minutes to complete, but 50 minutes will be added on to those who wish to write the essay. Moreover, the math section will heavily focus on data analysis, problem solving, algebra and topics leading into advanced math. While a calculator is currently allowed during the entirety of the test, it will, however, be restricted in some areas of the new test. The reading section will combine multiple-choice writing questions to shape a new section of “evidence-based reading and writing.” Passages in science, history and social studies will be further explored.

Coleman said, “The College Board cannot stand by while some test-prep providers intimidate parents at all levels of income into the belief that the only way they can secure their child’s success is to pay for costly test preparation and coaching. If we believe that assessment must be a force for equity and excellence, it’s time to shake things up.” College Board is intending to offer free online SAT prep for students planning to take the test. Also, for the first time, students will be given the option to take the test on computers.

Many changes are on the horizon for future students. We can only hope these changes empower students and make the SAT less stressful and more useful.


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