College Admissions & Testing

THE NEW SAT

The new SAT

Brian StackTuesday, June 16, 2015

Share this article

The introduction of the Common Core has caused many high schools and colleges to move toward proficiency and competency-based assessment systems in recent years. The focus in the educational community has now turned to one of the rites of passages that many high school juniors and seniors still face: college entrance exams like the SAT.

Back in March of 2014, the College Boardannounced it would be developing a new SAT that would debut in March of 2016. The new test would have a larger focus on skills, such as on citing evidence to support answers, coverage of fewer math topics and a move to an optional essay section. The College Board website notes eight key changes with the new SAT:

1. There will be a focus on relevant words in context. Students will be asked to interpret the meaning of words based on the context of the passage in which they appear.

2. Students will need a command of evidence. They will be asked to demonstrate their ability to interpret, synthesize and use evidence found in a wide range of sources.

3. Students will complete an essay analyzing a source. They will read a passage and explain how the author builds an argument to persuade an audience.

4. Students will focus on math that matters most. Math concepts will be based on three major areas: problem solving and data analysis, the heart of algebra, and passport to advanced math.

5. Students will focus on problems grounded in real-world contexts. In reading, students will be asked to edit and revise to improve texts from the humanities, history, social science and career contexts. In math, students will complete multistep applications to solve problems in science, social science, career scenarios and other real-life contexts

6. Students will apply their reading, writing, language and math skills to perform analysis in science, history and social studies.

7. Students will be asked to engage with a passage from a founding document like the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and the Federalist Papers to conduct close reading and reflect on and deeply engage with issues and concerns central to informed citizenship.

8. Students will not be penalized for wrong answers.

SAT Test prep services like Kaplan and the Princeton Review have already released updated resources and materials to help students prepare for this new test. Kaplan has dedicated a section of their website to helping students who plan to graduate in high school navigate the new test. The Princeton Review has built a similar website.

In a bold move earlier this month, the College Board announced it would roll out a free online test prep developed in conjunction with Khan Academy. The interactive software will allow users to get customized feedback on their performance as they work through the material by having them take short pretests and complete instructional lessons designed to explain problems that they had difficulty with. The software will also include access to video lessons and reference articles as additional instructional resources.

The College Board is hedging its bets that the new SAT will be a better measure of what students know and are able to do, which will ultimately lead to a better indicator of how well students will be college and career ready.

Brea Olinda Unified School District

SAT/ACT Testing

Brea Olinda High School hosts both the ACT and the SAT on campus. As with the SAT, the ACT is accepted at the vast majority of four year colleges and universities throughout the United States. Students who are looking for an alternative to the SAT, are encouraged to try an ACT in order to discover which test best demonstrates their strengths and skills. Current high 11th grade students should consider taking the ACT in the spring of their junior year.

What are the main differences between the ACT and the SAT?

The SAT is a problem solving, critical thinking based test consisting of three 800 point sections. The essay section is now optional. Students are tested on math, critical reading and writing abilities. The The new SAT produces a total composite score that can range between 400 and 1600, without the essay and a maximum of 2400 with the optional essay.

The ACT is primarily a content and curriculum-based exam consisting of math, reading, science reasoning and an optional writing section. The ACT math section includes trigonometry; the SAT does not. The maximum score is 36 points.

Register Online

Log on to www.actstudent.org to sign up. The ACT website also includes an ACT practice test, a schedule of future test dates and sample test questions. 

Log on to www.collegeboard.com to sign up for the SAT.

Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2017 West Corporation. All rights reserved.