In the spring of 2016, many changes will be made to the test all high school students are forced to endure: the SAT. The test will soon include three sections: evidence-based reading and writing, math, and an optional essay, each retooled to stop students from simply filling a bubble on the test sheet. By 2016, the SAT will not only change back to a 1600 point scale; it’s also making the essay optional, testing more common vocabulary and removing the penalty for wrong answers. After some evaluation, the College Board said the way the SAT tests students is too “disconnected” to the classroom. That’s why they’re also changing the math section to mirror what’s in the textbooks. Like the ACT, the essay portion will now be optional. The College Board says the new version of the SAT won’t be as hung up on vocabulary, either, so students can put down the flashcards with words like “superfluous.” This change, too, makes the test more like the ACT. An improved SAT is said to strongly focus on the core knowledge and skills that evidence shows are most important to prepare students for the rigors of college and career. The president of the college board, David Coleman, said that the next changes are sure to help students and colleges by “focusing on a core set of knowledge and skills that are essential to college and career success; reinforcing the practice of enriching and valuable schoolwork; fostering greater opportunities for students to make successful transitions into postsecondary education; and ensuring equity and fairness.” Overall, these changes should test the true knowledge of students so that colleges have a better feel for a student’s authentic learnings.
– Megan Mulvaney