Yes, the SAT has made changes…
What are they?
-The scoring returns to a 400-to-1600 range…It had been a 600-to-2400 range since the advent of the Writing component in 2005
-There will be 4 sections rather than 10…Students will receive a Math score (based on 2 sections) which ranges from 200-to-800 AND a Reading and Language score (based on 2 sections) which also ranges from 200-to-800. Charts, graphs, and visual analytics will be incorporated throughout all four of the “revised” SAT sections
-The Essay is much longer, but is now optional…Think of the Math and Reading & Language sections as a bus, with the 50-minute Essay as a large trailer hitched to the back. It’s your choice; hook it on or leave it off.
-The penalty for wrong answers is going away…A raw point used to be awarded for a correct answer, while an incorrect answer received a 1/4 point penalty. There will now be only 4 answer choices with no penalty
-There is a “No Calculator” Math section…Calculators used to be allowed for all Math questions
-And plenty of others….
With only the rarest of exceptions, colleges, universities, and institutions offering scholarships, including Bright Futures, will honor the scores from the old form of the SAT for several additional years. A similar situation occurred in 2005, the last time the SAT underwent changes, and “old” SAT scores were accepted for nearly 5 more years, so those students who have taken the old form have not wasted their time. In fact, it might be an advantage if the new SAT turns out to be tougher for them.
Yes, the SAT is changing, but will still serve the same purpose. It is a “weed out” test. College and Universities need a way to pare down the overwhelming numbers of applicants quickly and without too much risk to them. Ouch.
What does it all mean?
-Publicly the SAT says… their changes are designed as an adjustment to the times. Questions using archaic and obscure vocabulary words are giving way to evidence based reading questions, essay writing skills will receive more emphasis, “tricky” math questions are shunned in favor of those geared toward higher curriculum levels. The SAT claims its new “allegiance” with Khan Academy is to neutralize the impact of test preparation companies (yes, such as mine) with free test prep available to all
-The Reality? THEY HAD TO CHANGE…The stark reality is more students are taking the ACT than ever before and the SAT has been losing ground (and money). It is no accident the SAT will resemble the ACT in numerous ways; no penalty for wrong answers, four sections with the optional essay, less obscure words, etc. Some of these are cosmetic.
-At its core, the SAT remains the test which requires students to figure things out…They’ll still have to be analytical, understand processes rather than duplicating them, critique writer’s intentions, and show they are able to understand numbers and concepts. And although occasionally helpful, the Khan Academy tutorials will rarely (if ever) explain and expose the true patterns and susceptibilities of the SAT.
-The SAT is just as vulnerable to proper preparation as ever…The fact that the SAT has existed for over 8 decades should tell you something. A reliable standardized test is an efficient means to lump everyone together only to the end of weeding them out. The SAT has been, and will remain, reliable. They didn’t align with Khan Academy to help anyone. They did it to turn down the noise from years of harsh (and often misguided, but nonetheless effective) criticism.
-The fact remains…however, that nearly every student — no matter how bright — does not truly understand how to properly attack this nasty test. It can’t be treated like other tests.
Contact me. I can help.