This week, the College Board announced a major overhaul of the standardized test that stars so prominently in all of our worst high school nightmares. The SAT is going to be redesigned, with the new version debuting in the spring of 2016.
On its website, the Board states, "The redesigned SAT will ask students to apply a deep understanding of the few things shown by current research to matter most for college readiness and success. They’ll find questions modeled on the work of the best classroom teachers and perform tasks practiced in rigorous course work."
In short, they want it to be a better reflection of what students have actually been learning in their classrooms. The president of the College Board, David Coleman, was quoted in the New York Times as saying the exam had "become disconnected from the work of our high schools."
So, what are these changes? Glad you asked:
1. The SAT is going back to its old 1600-point scoring system. It will once again consist of two 800-point sections, one for Math and the other for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing. In 2005, the test switched to a 2400-point system.
2. The essay section is now optional. It had been required since 2005.
3. The new exam will last for about three hours, as opposed to the current three hours and 45 minutes. An extra 50 minutes will be provided for those go-getters who choose to do the essay.
4. Some "obscure" current vocabulary words will be dropped in favor of ones the Board described as more "relevant" for students' daily lives and future endeavors.
5. Wrong answers will not be penalized. "This move to rights-only scoring encourages students to give the best answer they have to every problem," the Board said.
6. Students will now have the option to take the SAT on a computer. R.I.P. Scantron? :(
7. Calculators will not be allowed for certain parts of the Math section. Students can currently use their calculators throughout the Math section.
You can read more about the changes straight from the source at the College Board's website.
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