The New SAT

Mar 6, 2014

The College Board has announced changes to the SAT, a test many high school students have suffered through on their way to college acceptance.

Critics of the test, and there are many, say it is an unreliable predictor of student performance in college, and some colleges, including Salve Regina University in Newport and Bryant University in Smithfield, have stopped requiring SAT scores from their applicants.

The new test is supposed to address some of those critics. As part of the redesign, students will be asked to interpret passages from literary and historical documents, citing specific examples from the text. The essay section will be optional, in part because many college admissions officers say they no longer look at the essay. The math section will focus on problem solving and data analysis, basic algebra and complex equations.

The College Board is also promising to offer online tutoring to help students prepare for the SAT.

Response to the redesign has so far been lukewarm. Standardized testing critics at the advocacy group Fair Test in Massachusetts say the redesign fails to address critical issues, like the fact that students who can afford test prep and other coaching are likely to score better on the test. Fair Test predicts that more colleges will become SAT-optional in the future.

But Jeff Rickey at St. Lawrence University in New York tells the Chronicle of Higher Education that the changes might prompt his school to re-think it's SAT-optional policy.