College Board makes SAT more test-taker friendly

Changes to come in 2016 for the structure of the SAT test


Jackie Haines Graphic

Christian Lewis, Reporter

Since the College Board administered their first Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) back in 1926, the SAT has been used as a standardized test that has allowed for students to take one test, to enter several different universities.  The test evolved over time to best represent the students language, until in 2005 it finally evolved into the SAT that we all know so well.

Since then the SAT has consisted of 3 major portions, Math, Reading and Writing, which also contained an essay section. Each portion was scored out of 800 points adding up to the perfect score of 2400 points. The problem with this system, was that it was too disconnected from what kids are actually learning in school. In order to get a better score on the test, teens have shifted to rely on last-minute tricks and cramming instead of actually learning the material.

Debuting in the spring of 2016, College Board will be reverting back to the 1600 point score system and applying many other changes to the test. In all, there are eight major parts to this redesign. The first consists of using words that are more relevant and practical, instead of the previous “SAT” words that students did not necessarily learn the meanings of. The next will make it so for each passage in the reading section, there will be at least one question in which they will have to select a quote that best supports their answer. After that College Board will make the essay an optional section and change the structure so that the essay will be to analyze a source, rather than recall information. All of the evidence based reading and writing sections will have questions that will be based on real world problems.

The math portion will change so that it will now be based on three main sections, problem solving and data analysis, algebra and advanced math.  Also, in each section students will be asked to interpret or apply their evidence in scientific or historical contexts. Then the founding documents of America, such as the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution, will be included into the texts to emphasize what is important for careers and good citizenship. However, the most controversial of all of these changes, is that students will no longer be penalized for the wrong answers chosen on the multiple choice sections of the exam.

Overall College Board is trying to administer the test in the same manner that schools are teaching the curriculum, and even if they are being taught differently, the questions are formatted so they can be figured out by logical thinking. Along with this, College Board is hoping that the scores of the new test will accurately represent how each student will be able to deal with the real world.