New SAT for 2016

College Board to Change Test Back To Old Format

Liam Russo, Staff Writer

Make sure to get a good night’s sleep, eat a large breakfast and grab 12 extra number two pencils because you’ll be taking a four hour—scratch that–three hour SAT test tomorrow morning

After criticizing his own test this past March, saying that it had become “disconnected from the work of our high schools,” President of the College Board David Coleman announced that the company would be re-inventing its 88-year old exam. After changing its test structure in 2005 to “meet the needs of students” in America, the new SAT (being implemented in 2016) will “aim to offer worthy challenges, not artificial obstacles,” stated Coleman.

Specifically, the new test will revert back to the original 1600 point scale from its current 2400 point scale; and it will now include one 800 point math section and an 800 point section called “evidence based reading and writing.”

The revised math section of the SAT will now include math sections from fewer, but more in depth topics to “contribute to readiness for college and career training.” Originally, students could use a calculator on all math sections but the new SAT has a clear no calculator rule for certain sections. There will also be more analytical math problems as opposed to memorization of math formulas. And the old rule of a point deduction for a wrong answer will be abolished.

“I’m excited! I think there needs to be a change, I just hope it’s for the right reasons,” said Tina Crook, pre-calculus teacher at BHS and math SAT prep tutor for nearly 12 years.

As for the English section, there will be more extensive changes. The advanced SAT vocabulary words are no more. Instead of memorizing scarcely used words such as “conflagration” and “sacrosanct,” students will be tested on words like “synthesize” and “empirical” that have been taught in classroom curriculum. There will also be a passage drawn from the Founding [U.S.] documents or the Great Global Conversation. Such documents include The Declaration of Independence and Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, to showcase articles students might recognize and feel more confident reading.  There will also be an optional essay that students may choose to take that can be separately added to the overall score. This essay will measure students’ ability to rhetorically analyze an author’s argument in documents as well as their ability to persuade an audience.

Coleman also announced that The College Board will include free waivers for low income students that will allow them to apply at up to four colleges free of charge. And The College Board has teamed up with Khan Academy to offer free practice problems online with demonstrations on how to solve them.

Perhaps one of the biggest changes is the new, optional, online version of the test that can now be taken on the computer as opposed to paper. Of course, the implementation of the computer version will depend on the funding of the school district.

Students have taken to Twitter to express their opinions on the new test. New mockery accounts such as “New SAT Questions,” which has nearly 132,000 followers, tweets humorous takes on sample questions for the upcoming SAT that include Kim Kardashian, Terrio and The Hunger Games.

“I think they’re [the test] becoming a lot easier,” said Maggie Tierno, junior at BHS. “I wish the College Board had made these changes earlier because the SATs have been out of date for a while now with what their testing on,” she added.

According to a recent New York Times article, the ACT, a similar standardized test,  has grown in popularity. The ACT surpassed the SAT for the first time in 2012 with 1,666,017 students who signed up to take ACT and 1,664,479 for the SAT.

But although the recent changes by The College Board have been criticized, some like to believe that they are finally realizing that students have become more competitive and informed in their education and demand a new test format.

“The way in which students learn and what they learn is changing,” said Crook. “Students today are more in tune with their education and the colleges they apply to. And their education is going to be one of the biggest investments they make in their life aside from a car or a house,” added Crook. “I just wish students didn’t stress so much about the test.”

For up to date information on the new changes, visit Comment on our story online or tweet at us @bhsinsight for your opinion on the changes.