College Board announces modifications for Scholastic Aptitude Test in 2016

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Ambika Vartak - Staff Writer

Last month, David Coleman, the Chief Executive Officer and President of the College Board, announced that the SAT, commonly known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test, will undergo major changes in the spring of 2016.  These modifications to the SAT are in regards to the content tested, the scoring system and the method of preparation.  He believes that the transition to the new SAT will be better for students as the tests will now be more applicable to the problems of the real world.

“No longer will it be good enough to focus on tricks and trying to eliminate answer choices,” said Coleman.  “We are not interested in students just picking an answer, but justifying their answers.”

According to Coleman, the SAT will now be out of 1,600 points instead of 2,400 points and will eliminate the guessing penalty, meaning that there will be no point deduction for selecting a wrong answer.  The new sections on the SAT will include evidence based reading and writing, math and an optional essay.

The reading comprehension section will require students to cite evidence to the multiple choice questions from passages based on history, science, social studies and literature.  In the vocabulary section, students will focus more on curriculum-based words instead of college-level terms.  Additionally, the essay will be optional for all students; however, the prompt will not undergo significant changes and the essay score could potentially enhance the score of the test taker.  The mathematics section will no longer allow calculators and will focus on real-world problems and data analysis.  Math on the SAT will be very similar to that of the Common Core State Standards.  For example, the Algebra section will focus on linear equations which will help students better understand graphs and tables that they may see in their future careers.  The problem solving section will involve percentages and ratios that will relate to scenarios that would potentially appear in a student’s future career.

“I believe the redesigned SAT will be a vast improvement,” said sophomore Sarah Jhaveri.  “[The new SAT] will help students be prepared for college and beyond.”

Because a lot of people cannot afford expensive test preparation, the College Board has also decided to partner up with Khan Academy.  The Khan Academy website is a free online based teaching service where concepts are taught through short video segments.  With this partnership, Coleman hopes that students will take advantage of this free resource without having to worry about costly fees.

The changes in the SAT are designed to parallel the high school curriculum with real world application problems.  Coleman hopes to ultimately benefit students and educators alike with the modifications of this test in the future.