SAT Will Return to 1600-Point Scale, Drop Essay

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#1 Posted by Allicrombie (25085 posts) -

The College Board announced Wednesday across-the-board changes to the SAT college admissions test – including a return to the 1600-point scoring scale and a departure from the mandatory timed essay – as well as new initiatives to promote equity and opportunity for college-bound students.

Beginning in the spring of 2016, students will take a redesigned SAT the board says focuses on more relevant vocabulary words that "students will use consistently in college and beyond," draws from fewer math topics and does not deduct points for incorrect answers, as it has done in the past. The essay section, which was first made mandatory in the SAT's 2005 revamp that also established its current 2400-point scale, now will be optional and separately scored.

"We must certainly ask ourselves if we are, together or as a group, doing all we can to advance equity and excellence," College Board President David Coleman said while announcing the changes at the South by Southwest Education conference in Austin, Texas. "Because if you look around, it sure doesn't look like it."

"It is time to admit the SAT and ACT have become far too disconnected from the work of our high schools," Coleman added.

Coleman also announced several initiatives to give more support to high-performing students from disadvantaged backgrounds, including an initiative that will give every income-eligible SAT test-taker four fee waivers to apply to college.

"It is time for the College Board to move from measuring to acting," Coleman said. "Once the test is over, the real work of delivering and propelling students into opportunity begins."

The College Board recently found that just 43 percent of American students are ready for college – a statistic that has remained stagnant for five years. Additionally, Coleman said, most students who come from the lowest income quintile, but score in the highest SAT range, do not apply to more competitive colleges.

The College Board also will partner with Khan Academy to offer free SAT test preparation materials to every student. College admissions tests, including the SAT and the ACT, have been heavily criticized by those who say they unintentionally favor students from wealthier families with the means to pay for preparation that gives students access to what Coleman called the "secrets" of the tests.

"It is time for the College Board to say in a clear voice that the culture and practice of test preparation that now surrounds admissions exams drives the perception of inequality and injustice in our country," Coleman said. "We cannot stand aside and say, 'We made a good test, what happens before and after is not our fault.' It may not be our fault, but it is our problem."

The material through Khan Academy will be made available in the spring of 2015. In addition, students who will be taking the current version of the SAT will have the opportunity to access "hundreds of previously unreleased practice problems from actual SAT exams" through Khan Academy, according to the College Board.

"For too long, there's been a well-known imbalance between students who could afford test-prep courses and those who couldn't," Sal Khan, founder and executive director of Khan Academy, said in a statement. "We're thrilled to collaborate closely with the College Board to level the playing field by making truly world-class test-prep materials freely available to all students."

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Not sure how I feel about them dropping the essay requirement, a lot of people I know can barely write as it is and it's pretty sad.

#2 Edited by Ring_of_fire (15620 posts) -

I don't mind them dumping the essay. I would imagine most schools force kids to take an English composition class as it is.

I took the SAT back in 2005 when they introduced the essay, and my school didn't take that into consideration. Waste of time!

#3 Posted by wis3boi (30881 posts) -

The writing portions of standardized tests i feel were incredibly flawed anyways. They tested your ability to regurgitate information you read in your own words, not how well you write a convincing thoughtful piece.

#4 Posted by airshocker (28203 posts) -

I don't like the essay being dropped.

#5 Edited by playmynutz (5921 posts) -

Never took the SAT. Let's see how this plays out

#6 Posted by GazaAli (22491 posts) -

The essay component of any of the standardized tests is shit for the most part so this is good.

#7 Posted by GazaAli (22491 posts) -

@wis3boi said:

The writing portions of standardized tests i feel were incredibly flawed anyways. They tested your ability to regurgitate information you read in your own words, not how well you write a convincing thoughtful piece.

I took the TOEFL (Test Of English as a Foreign Language) test some 3.5 years ago. Its an international standardized test administered by an institution called ETS, located in NJ. It had an essay component, and I only scored 4/6 in it, despite the fact that I scored an almost perfect score in the test. It was a joke really, I write good English and I highly doubt many nonnative speakers of the language who never lived in an English speaking country can write substantially better English than me. So I'm definitely with you on this one, the essay component is overwhelmingly flawed and unrepresentative of one's actual language abilities.

#8 Posted by CrimsonBrute (23069 posts) -

Where was this when I took it. I would've gotten a better score under these circumstances.

#9 Posted by CountBleck12 (22494 posts) -

@wis3boi said:

The writing portions of standardized tests i feel were incredibly flawed anyways. They tested your ability to regurgitate information you read in your own words, not how well you write a convincing thoughtful piece.

Yeah pretty much this, back when I took it around 2011 I had to do this and I ended up getting a good score. It was too easy.

#10 Posted by deeliman (2228 posts) -

@GazaAli said:

@wis3boi said:

The writing portions of standardized tests i feel were incredibly flawed anyways. They tested your ability to regurgitate information you read in your own words, not how well you write a convincing thoughtful piece.

I took the TOEFL (Test Of English as a Foreign Language) test some 3.5 years ago. Its an international standardized test administered by an institution called ETS, located in NJ. It had an essay component, and I only scored 4/6 in it, despite the fact that I scored an almost perfect score in the test. It was a joke really, I write good English and I highly doubt many nonnative speakers of the language who never lived in an English speaking country can write substantially better English than me. So I'm definitely with you on this one, the essay component is overwhelmingly flawed and unrepresentative of one's actual language abilities.

Oh the irony ;)

jk

#11 Edited by GazaAli (22491 posts) -

@deeliman said:

@GazaAli said:

@wis3boi said:

The writing portions of standardized tests i feel were incredibly flawed anyways. They tested your ability to regurgitate information you read in your own words, not how well you write a convincing thoughtful piece.

I took the TOEFL (Test Of English as a Foreign Language) test some 3.5 years ago. Its an international standardized test administered by an institution called ETS, located in NJ. It had an essay component, and I only scored 4/6 in it, despite the fact that I scored an almost perfect score in the test. It was a joke really, I write good English and I highly doubt many nonnative speakers of the language who never lived in an English speaking country can write substantially better English than me. So I'm definitely with you on this one, the essay component is overwhelmingly flawed and unrepresentative of one's actual language abilities.

Oh the irony ;)

jk

oh you :P

There's actually nothing wrong with that construction right there, in an informal manner of speaking that is. I certainly wouldn't use it in a formal context like an essay to a graduate school for example.