What changes to the SAT mean to your child…

SAT Hated

Everyone is abuzz with the talk of the College Board’s announcement that big changes are coming to the SAT in 2016. According to David Coleman, president of the College Board, “The redesigned SAT will focus on the knowledge and skills that current research shows are most essential for college and career readiness and success.”

Starting in Spring 2016, students will take a new SAT – a three-hour exam scored on the old 1,600-point system, with an optional essay scored separately. Evidenced-based reading and writing, Coleman said, will replace the current sections on reading and writing. The math section, too, will be predicated on research that shows that there are “a few areas of math that are a prerequisite for a wide range of college courses” and careers. Coleman conceded that some might treat the news that they were shifting away from more obscure math problems to these fewer fundamental skills as a dumbing-down the test, but he was adamant that this was not the case.

It’s difficult to predict exactly how these changes will affect test takers but, as Coleman stated, one of the main goals of the test is to help students who don’t have access to test prep resources beyond what is available to them in school as the focus of the test becomes more practical and real-world-focused. How colleges and universities will react to the new test also remains to be seen. The weight placed on the SAT and ACT in the college admission process has always varied from school to school.

Certainly this will be a hot topic among students, parents, college planners, and educators (teachers/tutors) alike. And if you have a child in the 9th grade or younger, the news goes beyond the professional to the personal.

First and foremost, while change is uncomfortable, I look forward to the opportunities that the new SAT brings. In short, the new SAT will look more like the current ACT, which has grown in popularity since its inception. When the yearly number of ACT tests administered finally surpassed the yearly number of SAT tests administered for the first time last year, I think the College Board felt compelled to react… and it has. To David Coleman’s credit, he actually started his due diligence in the overhaul of the SAT to have it better reflect what students should be learning in school around the time he was appointed as the board’s next president in July 2012.

Below are a few articles that explain the forthcoming changes: 

Key Shifts of the SAT Redesign -Washington Post

SAT to drop essay requirement and return to top score of 1600 in redesign of admission test -Washington Post – March 5, 2014

A New SAT Aims to Realign With Schoolwork -New York Times – March 5, 2014

The Story Behind the SAT Overhaul -New York Times – March 6, 2014

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