Changes in SAT

Clay Hensley, director, international strategy and relationships, College Board, talks  on the redesigned SAT. 

SAT is a standardized test for most college admissions. It was formerly developed, published, and scored by the Educational Testing Service which still administers the exam. The test is intended to assess a student’s readiness for college.

SAT consists of three major sections: Critical Reading, Mathematics, and Writing. It is a multiple question based paper.

This time SAT is redesigned. Each change in the redesigned SAT focuses on the knowledge and skills that are most essential for college readiness and success. The exam is also modelled on the work students do in high school. The redesigned exam will be first administered in spring 2016. College Board will release the full specifications of the exam along with extensive sample items for each section in April 2014.

Reason behind redesigning SAT

The redesigned SAT aims to be more relevant in changing times. It builds on the remarkable care and expertise statisticians have used to make the exam valid and predictive, while becoming more focused, useful, clear and open than ever before.

How will the SAT exam changes benefit students

The changes aim to adjust with the things that matter most for success in college and career. The team aims to bring in focus the topics that students encounter when they take it is widely applicable to their work in college and career training opportunities. The exam will be clearer and more open than before. Further information will be released on the website on April 16th.The free practice material will also be available on the website which will be provided through Khan Academy. Paper for both earlier and redesigned papers will be made available on the website. This will help students to notice the changes that are made. The College Board says We will ensure students know what to expect and how to prepare for the exam.

Partnership between College Board and Khan Academy

College Board is partnering with Khan Academy to provide the world with free test preparation material for the redesigned SAT. College Board and Khan Academy will build this material together for launch in spring 2015. This means that for the first time, students who want to take the SAT will be able to prepare for the exam, practise, and identify gaps in their learning, for free. 

Key changes to SAT exam are as follows-

  • The test will use a score of 1600 which earlier was 2400
  • The (i) evidence-based reading and writing and (ii) maths sections will each be scored on a 200- to 800-point scale
  • Scores for the essay section will be reported separately.
  • The length of the exam will be about three hours, with an added 50 minutes for the essay. Precise timing will be finalised after more research.
  • The essay will be optional
  • No points will be deducted for incorrect answers
  • Calculators will be permitted only on certain portions of the maths section .The maths section will draw from fewer topics
  • Vocabulary will be focused on words widely used in college and beyond, and not on obscure words.
  • The reading and writing sections will be evidence-based.
  • In the reading and writing sections, students will be asked to analyse both text and data in real-world contexts, including correcting inconsistencies between the two They will get source texts from science, history, and social studies, analysing them the way they would in those classes at school.
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