Attention Teachers: SAT changes to reflect Common Core by 2016

The College Board recently announced proposed changes to the SAT, the most influential and critical college-admissions exam. The reshaping of the SAT test is said to change the penalty for incorrect guesses, the vocabulary words, and creating an optional essay, with the goal of creating an exam that better reflects the new Common Core standards.

Current College Board President, David Coleman, one of the primary architects of the Common Core State Standards, says that both the SAT and ACT tests have “become disconnected from the work of our high schools.”

With plans to have the standardized college test better reflect what students are learning in high school, there is no doubt that the changes will also reflect the curriculum standards that students are required to master with the Common Core.

The revisions to the exam will not only redesign the composition of the exam but also the content, with an emphasis in reinforcing and testing the evidence-based skills that students are required to learn in high school, including justification for chosen answers. This directly correlates with a key shift in the Common Core Standards requiring students’ ability to cite evidence for arguments.

“The common core provides substantial opportunity to make the SAT even more reflective of what higher education wants,” Coleman said. “The real value here is that if the SAT aligns more to the common core, we won’t be giving an assessment at the end of K-12 that’s out of kilter with what we demand at the end of the day. The instrument should measure the steady practice of the work you’ve been doing.”

The changes in the new SAT test will begin in the spring of 2016 and will include the following, among others:

·      The SAT vocabulary definitions will reflect those commonly used in college courses.

·      The essay will be optional and will include a passage containing evidence, reasoning and stylistic elements to build an argument.

·      The new test will eliminate the guessing penalty, in which points are deducted for incorrect answers.

·      Scoring will return to the 1,600-point scale, with a top score of 800 in reading and math. The essay will have a separate score.

·      Math questions will focus on linear equations; complex equations or functions; and ratios, percentages and proportional reasoning

·      In both the reading and writing exam section students will be asked to select the quotation from the text that supports the answer they have chosen.


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