Previewing The New SAT

Career College Central summary:

  • In March, the College Board unveiled plans for an overhaul of the SAT, revamping the much-derided essay, promising the end to "SAT words" that are rarely used, and promising a test more focused on students' ability to demonstrate sound thinking, rather than test-taking skills.
  • Today, the College Board is releasing much more detail about the thinking behind new sections of the test, and some samples of questions. The College Board cautioned that it continues to test the validity of various approaches and specific questions, so these approaches could change before the new test is used in 2016. But there is more detail than there was in March — and that is likely to cause much discussion about the changes.
  • Consider the change in the essay question. Under the current version of the test, students respond to an essay prompt about some broad philosophical question, and the students are judged based on their form — with no penalty for inaccurate assertions. The new approach, according to the backgrounder released by the College Board, focuses on "students' ability to analyze source texts and, more broadly, to understand and make effective use of evidence in reading and writing."
  • The College Board argues that this approach will have much more validity. "In a break from the past and present of much standardized direct-writing assessment, the essay task is not designed to elicit students' subjective opinions but rather to assess whether students are able to comprehend …  source text and to create an effective written analysis of that text."

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