College Board implements notable changes to the SAT

Mr.+David+Coleman%2C+President+of+the+College+Board%2C+announces+the+changes+for+the+2016+Scholastic+Aptitude+Test+%28SAT%29.+Partnering+with+Khan+Academy%2C+the+College+Board+will+be+offering+free+online+tutoring+for+worldwide+test-takers.+Photo+courtesy+of+cnn.com.

Mr. David Coleman, President of the College Board, announces the changes for the 2016 Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). Partnering with Khan Academy, the College Board will be offering free online tutoring for worldwide test-takers. Photo courtesy of cnn.com.

The Scholastic Aptitude Test, more commonly known as the SAT, has been evaluating the critical thinking and mathematical skills of American high school students since 1933.  Starting in spring 2016, the College Board will implement changes to its SAT examination in the hopes of more accurately reflecting students’ academic skills.
The SAT is currently comprised of three sections: Critical Reading, Math, and Writing. According to the College Board, the test will be reformatted into three revised sections: Math, Evidence-Based Reading, and Evidence-Based Writing. The essay will be offered as an optional section for all test-takers.
“I am happy that they are changing the SAT for future students,”  SAT test-taker and Convent of the Sacred Heart junior Alexa Granser said. “It is good that they will have the choice to take the essay. I think the test as a whole will be easier to navigate.”

Mr. David Coleman, President of the College Board, announces the changes for the 2016 Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). Partnering with Khan Academy, the College Board will be offering free online tutoring for worldwide test-takers. Photo courtesy of cnn.com.
Mr. David Coleman, President of the College Board, announces the changes for the 2016 Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). Partnering with Khan Academy, the College Board will be offering free online tutoring for worldwide test-takers. Photo courtesy of cnn.com.

While the format may be different, each section will continue to be scored on a scale of 200 to 800 points. Students who choose to omit the essay will receive a maximum score of 1600 points. The entire exam will take approximately three hours and 50 minutes to complete.
The test’s mathematics section will focus on certain areas that the College Board deems more useful for college curricula and real-life situations. These topics include algebra, problem solving, data analysis and some advanced mathematical equations, according to a statement released by the College Board.
To further emphasize the importance of mental math, students may only use calculators on specific sections of the math test.
The other half of the exam, which includes Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, requires students to infer conclusions from given passages. Certain readings on the SAT will be excerpts from American founding documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Gettysburg Address, according to abcnews.com.
The College Board also hopes to increase students’ chances of success.  Partnering with Mr. Sal Khan, the founder of Khan Academy, the College Board will begin to offer free online SAT tutoring sessions in preparation for the 2016 exam. In addition, the College Board will remove penalization for incorrect answers. According to abcnews.com, the new SAT examination will encourage students to guess answers rather than omit questions.
With the addition of free tutoring services and the removal of guessing penalties, president of the College Board Mr. David Coleman hopes to also relieve some pre-test stress with the revision of the SAT.
“No longer will it be good enough to focus on tricks and trying to eliminate answer choices,” Mr. Coleman said in an interview with Mr. Todd Balf in the New York Times.  “We are not interested in students just picking an answer, but justifying their answers.”
– Sarah Jackmauh, Co-Features Editor