Many high school juniors and seniors stress over taking their SATs, or the Scholastic Aptitude Test, in the springtime. But recently, College Board has made some major changes to the test in order to deliver more opportunities to low-income students and reflect what students were learning in school.
“Even among those who are ready, the majority of low-income, high-achieving students do not apply to the colleges within their reach. Our members called on us to do better,” Jaslee Caryol, Associate Director of College Board said.
College Board members conducted extensive listening tours of students grades in K-12 and higher education to observe what students were learning. This helped shape the options and content of the new exam.
This March, students discovered the new SAT reverted back to the previous 1600 point system from the ‘90s. The essay is now optional, though all schools in Ore. still require it. The guess penalty is also now nonexistent so students could give their best answer without fear of docked points for a wrong guess.
The SAT now also has new test specifications published online for those interested in improving their score and changed test questions to test common vernacular.
“[The College board] removed obscure vocabulary that students won’t use frequently in college or careers and instead focuses on the meaning of words in context,” Caryol said.
After the first SAT test was completed, the College Board translated data given to them by students who took the test and found 71% of students said the test reflected what they had been learning in school. On top that, 80% of students said the vocabulary tested would be useful to them later in life, compared with the 55% in March last year.
Overall, the exam was changed so students could focus on showing their strengths without learning test taking strategies and to give more opportunities to low-income students. The College Board thinks these changes will allow students “ to put their best foot forward on the SAT.”