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The New SAT (2016) vs the Current SAT

Last Updated: Mar 7, 2014 11:49:00 AM

Perhaps you’ve heard the news, read the reactions, considered the wave of prognostications, and even watched excerpts from Monsieur Coleman’s (C.E.O. of the College Board) announcement about the changes to the SAT. The new test will go into effect in the spring of 2016, impacting students who are currently freshmen. First, this summary of the news:

 

Current
SAT…

 “New” SAT Test (Spring 2016)…

Scoring

Scoring is on the basis of 2400 points

The maximum score will revert to the pre-2005
top score of 1600

Penalty

Incorrect answers penalize a student ¼
point

There will be NO penalty for an incorrect
answer

Total time

A student has a total of 3 hours 45
minutes, including the 25-minute essay

The test will last 3 hours. The optional
essay will tack on an additional 50 minutes of testing. Total time possible:
3 hours 50 minutes

Essay

The general essay topic allows wide
variability in writing

A student will write an essay that
analyzes a source document

Vocab

There are 19 vocabulary questions with
arcane vocabulary

The 19 sentence completions are expect to
disappear;  vocabulary in the context
of reading and writing passages will be more relevant to high school and
college-level study

Support

The College Board sells a low-cost online
subscription service for SAT preparation

College Board will partner with Khan
Academy to provide free, online tutorials for the new test

Reading & Writing

Reading and Writing (grammar, syntax,
usage) sections are distinct sections which are separately scored

The two will be combined into “Evidence-Based
Reading and Writing,” with a corresponding change in the type of questions –
ones that rely heavily on analytical skills

Math

Math is divided primarily among questions
from algebra 1, geometry, and algebra 2

The math
examination will contain three focus areas:

1)      Problem
Solving and Data Analysis (including ratios and percentages and other
reasoning used to solve real-world problems)

2)      Heart
of Algebra (linear equations)

3)     
Passport to Advanced Math (more
complex equations as encountered in science and social science)

 

The impending changes have provoked considerable dialogue among supporters and detractors. William Fitzsimmons, Harvard’s Dean of Admission, welcomed the speed at which the College Board under Coleman’s leadership was moving ahead with positive changes that he called “stunning.” Others, like Columbia University’s Lucy Calkins, remain skeptical about Chairman Coleman’s new testing model. In fact, questioning Coleman’s methodology surrounding critical thinking, Leo Bolstein, the President of Bard College, said that the changes to the SAT have been motivated by the competition from arch-rival ACT, rather than any serious soul searching. But plans are afoot, and even some of the test’s harshest critiques concede that the new direction is fresh.

College Board’s partnership with Khan Academy validates the efforts of the test-prep industry: test prep definitely helps students improve their scores! In our view and that of many others in education, the mentoring that comes with one-on-one and small-group instruction in virtually any subject has a significant impact on outcomes.

With over three decades of test prep under our belts, we’ve seen many alterations to the testing landscape. Through them all, our team of professionals has played an integral role in guiding students and families through test changes to help them succeed. That’s why we welcome The College Board’s new initiative as our opportunity to do what we have always done best: guide a student to score at the top!


Topics: SAT Test Test-Prep

 

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