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College Board reinvents SAT

Ishaan Khemani, Staff Writer

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The College Board and Khan Academy are releasing the new SAT test in 2016 in order to improve and build on the standards of testing in America.

The College Board and Khan Academy’s goal is to make the preparation for the SAT easily available and improve the SAT test so that it doesn’t trick the students, but assesses their skills on what they studied and learned.

Salman Khan, founder of Khan Academy, and College Board CEO David Coleman, announced and discussed the changes to the SAT during a video call on April 15, 2014.

In this announcement, both Coleman and Khan stated that studying for the SAT should not involve taking expensive courses that may help students achieve a higher score.

Coleman then added, “ … what should be a factor is the quality of your practice.”

With practice being the key to doing well on the SAT, students need to know what to practice. Khan Academy will offer a personalized guided practice on their website starting in early May. The guidance includes four College Board practice tests, an online practice exam scoring and College Board-based practice problems. Practice questions are revealed daily with answers.

Along with practice tests and exams, students will be able to track their progress and find their strengths and weaknesses in subjects.

All this assistance applies to the new SAT, which releases in 2016. The College Board announced eight key points in which the SAT will change: vocabulary testing, recognition of evidence in artifacts, analysis of the founding documents, real world problems, science and history questions, prompt and grading of the essay, subjects of math and the total grading of the test.

Vocabulary in the SAT used to be consisted of lists of words that students memorized the definitions of. The problem was that many of the words expired and were not commonly used in modern day English.

The new SAT will test the understanding of relevant words used commonly in later years.

The vocabulary will be tested using in-text clues that can come from many sources, like many founding documents such as the latest science artifacts, global conversations and historic literary pieces.

The SAT will also ask for students to edit and analyze these sources. This will be in addition to the amount of current issues, in the hopes of keeping students well-informed on the issues of their time.

The new SAT will not require an essay but will offer it, though many colleges may make it mandatory. If a student writes the essay, it will include a prompt that is related to a passage. The student will be asked to analyze the source and identify different aspects of the passage, including the audience, style and persuasive points. The prompt of the essay is planned to be kept the same and released in advance; only the passage will change by test.

The math section of the SAT will include data analysis, familiarity with complex equations and samples of geometry, calculus and other relevant topics.

The College Board chose these topics to help with the readiness of students for college.

Most of the grading of the SAT will be the same. The two main differences starting in 2016 will be that some SAT scores will be out of 1600 instead of 2400, depending on the choice of writing an essay or not, and there will be no penalty for wrong answers.

Unlike the previous SAT, the 2016 SAT will not subtract points for a wrong answers, encouraging students to attempt each problem rather than skipping the harder problems.

Changing the SAT is a momentous and rather important work. With the College Board and Khan Academy working together, the new and improved SAT will hopefully make testing a less biased and more accurate way of gauging students’ ability.

For study resources for the new SAT, check out:

  1. Khan Academy Website: https://www.khanacademy.org/
  2. College Board SAT website: http://sat.collegeboard.org/home
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College Board reinvents SAT