It was announced in 2012 that David Coleman, architect of the Common Core, was now president of the College Board and would be rewriting the SAT to align the disastrous ed reform agenda. The changes Coleman made to the SAT have finally been unveiled. According to Coleman the SAT needs to “create more opportunities for students, rather than obstructing them with test questions that felt detached from their educations and the preparation colleges needed.”
The last time the SAT underwent major changes was in 2005 when they changed the scoring scale from 1500 to 2400 and added a written essay. One of the changes put forward by Coleman is to return that scale back to 1500. Many experts in the field have said that the SAT needs to more accurately reflect what the student learns in school. Hence, the perfect time to change it. New curriculum, new test.
Most four-year colleges require an exam score for admission but hundreds of schools have shifted to a “test optional” platform that allows students to decide what they want to submit for entrance or whether they share a test score at all. Coleman thinks the reason for some students bypassing the SAT is the “costly preparation” to take the exam. So the College Board is partnering with Khan Academy to provide free test preparation.
It begs the question as to whether or not more schools will begin to return to the standardized test for entrance. An interesting thing to find would be how much money the test makers might make off of that. What’s perhaps most interesting is that students will no longer be penalized for choosing the wrong answer. Does this mean that 4×3 really can be 11? Everyone gets an A!
Here are the other changes to the SAT (author’s comments in parenthesis).
The reading and writing sections will include questions that require students to cite evidence for their answer choices, and will include reading passages from a broader range of disciplines, including science, history, social studies and literature. (Good thing they’re having children as young as 6 read that “informational text!”)
Test takers will no longer be asked to complete sentences with obscure words they might have memorized from flash cards. Instead, students will have to consider the context of how words like “synthesis” and “empirical” are used. They’re not “SAT words” as they’ve come to be known, Coleman said, but words students are likely to encounter again. (Ah, is that the critical thinking component coming in to play? Or is it basically doing a dictionary definition of what the word means. Instead of reading words on flash cards perhaps they’ll read definitions on flash cards.)
The math section will no longer allow calculators to be used on every portion. It will focus on data analysis and real world problem-solving, algebra and some more advanced math concepts — areas that most prepare students for college and career, Coleman said. (I wonder if they will be allowed to analyze the data that was collected on them from birth to the point of the SAT?)
Essays will be scored separately from the rest of the test, and the prompt will remain basically the same in every test: It will ask students to consider a passage and write an essay that analyzes how the author made an argument, used evidence and styled ideas. (More analyzing of informational text. This is not boring at all. It’s helpful the Common Core won’t make them read engaging pieces that will better show them how to make these connections by great authors such as Mark Twain!)
Intriguing bit of information about that essay. At the SXSWedu2014 David Coleman snuck a little tidbit in with no fanfare. “We have decided to partner with [The Atlantic] to create a set of prizes modeled after the Pulitzer Prize for the best student analytical writing in this country, in different categories and publish the best of them.”
The Atlantic is a very progressive outlet. Am I the only one who wonders what kind of score an essay will receive if it’s not touting progressive ideology? The redesigned test will take about three hours, with an additional 50 minutes for the essay, and will be administered by print and computer; the current test is available on paper only.
On April 16th the College Board will release more specific details to the changes and will also release the test and sample test questions.
The new SAT will begin being used in the Spring of 2016.