The College Board announced on March 5th the SAT’s revamp after facing criticism stating that the college admission exam does not focus enough on important academic skills.
The SAT, formally known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test, will return to the 1600-point scoring system, will remove the penalty for guessing incorrectly, will no longer require a timed essay and will remove the use of arcane vocabulary words and will begin to use every day vernacular.
David Coleman, president of the College Board, stated that there will be new programs to help low-income students, who will receive fee waivers to apply to up to four colleges.
In light of a new partnership between the College Board and Khan Academy, a not-for-profit educational organization, online practice problems and instructional videos will be offered for free to the approximate 1.6 million students that take the exam yearly.
The new SAT has a plethora of changes. Set to be administered in the spring of 2016, the test will be offered in both print and by computer. Test takers will no longer lose a quarter of a point for incorrect responses, allowing the test results to be based on correct answers only.
The math portion will be condensed to three areas, as opposed to four: problem solving and data analysis, algebra, and advanced math, focusing on linear equations, functions and proportional thinking. The reading and writing will depend on source documents across academic subjects, allowing students to analyze the documents for its use of evidence, reasoning and persuasive or stylistic technique, making the SAT more accessible, straightforward and reflective of a student’s learning throughout high school.
Reevaluation of the SAT can be accredited to research made by the College Board which reveals a large income gap in SAT results.
In 2009, a report done by College Board found that a student with a family income of less than $23,000 scored an average of 434 on the reading portion, while students in households making over $200,000 scored approximately 563. A gap of 100 points was found in the math SAT scores.
However, many are accrediting the reevaluation to the increasing amount of students taking the ACT. The number of ACT takers surpassed the number of SAT takers in 2012, according to the Washington Post.
The ACT, which has no guessing penalty, offers an optional essay and a science section, and while the SAT does not, it plans to include a science passage in its reading section.
The new changes has generated positive results from officials such as Miami’s superintendent, Alberto Carvalho.
“Like the revamped SAT,” he stated on his Twitter, “all test data should have a ‘safe use warning’ lest we harm students through single input conclusions.”