College Board officials announced major changes to the SATs Wednesday, the first significant revisions since 2005.
Among the changes, according to the Associated Press, are that the SAT essay will now be optional for test-takers, there is no more penalty for incorrect answers, and an emphasis on more practical questioning.
The maths and reading sections will remain, but the SAT will again be graded out of 1600 possible points, with the option of adding an essay score.
According to the AP, the grading of the now-optional essay will also change. “It will measure students’ ability to analyse and explain how an author builds an argument, instead of measuring the coherence of the writing but not the quality or accuracy of the reasoning,” they report.
“It will be up to school districts and colleges the students apply to as to whether the essay will be required,” the AP reports.
By doing away with the wrong answer penalty, students will no longer be discouraged from guessing. Previously, test-takers would lose .25 points for each wrong answer.
Additionally, both the maths and reading sections — which will still be required for test-takers — are shifting away from more obscure questioning.
So called “SAT words” will be phased out and replaced with “vocabulary words that are widely used in college and career,” according to The Washington Post.
The maths section will also focus its questions, the AP reports. “Instead of testing a wide range of maths concepts, the new exam will focus on a few areas, like algebra, deemed most needed for college and life afterward,” they note. Calculators will also only be allowed on certain sections, instead of throughout the entire test.
These changes will go into effect in 2016.
This post will continue to be updated with more information on the SAT changes.
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