The SAT Changes Again…For the Better?

The SATs. They are a rite of passage for all high school students: a test consisting of four straight hours of reading questions about cooking, chemistry, and the Eighteenth Century, math questions about rabbits, marbles, and paint, and an essay pondering the deep meaning of our existence. Exam

All jokes aside, the College Board recently announced that it will be making significant changes to the SAT that will be put into motion in 2016.

The new test will revert back to its old 1600-point scale (as opposed to the current 2400-point scale). It will consist of three sections: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, Math, and an essay. The new essay will be evidence-based and optional (but more selective schools will likely require that you complete the essay). The prompt for the essay will be given in advance and will not change. Within the critical reading sections, large and obscure vocabulary words will be taken out, and as with the essay, the reading passages will be more evidence-oriented, requiring students to cite specific sections of the passage to support their answer choices. Furthermore, there will be no penalty for incorrect answers.

One of the most interesting changes, however, is the fact that the College Board will be partnering with Khan Academy to provide free test preparation materials beginning in the spring of 2015.

It is far too early to decide whether or not these changes will be for the better. The College Board has already modified the SATs multiple times, most recently in 2005, and each time new issues arose. While I do believe that the new test is heading in a good direction, students who will take the SATs in 2015 or later can only hope that the changes help to make the test a better assessment of their readiness for college.

Personally, I find the most promising change to be the partnership between College Board and Khan Academy. It seems that the College Board has finally taken measures to remedy the fact that the SAT has tricks that do not directly test what you learn in high school. Students from families that can afford tutoring can learn strategies to work around these maneuvers, but not all students have such resources. Hopefully, Khan Academy will be able to provide quality material to prepare for the test that will level the playing field, so to speak, for all students taking the test.

— Khush Dhaliwal, Arts Editor

Posted by on April 1, 2014. Filed under Op-Ed. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

You must be logged in to post a comment Login