They make life miserable for so many high school students. Now, however, the SATs are getting a major overhaul meant to bring the test more in line with real skills students need to succeed in college and afterward, and focus more on the important academic skills.
The College Board announced sweeping changes on Wednesday, including making the essay portion (required since 2005) optional, not penalizing students for wrong answers (knows as the “guessing penalty”) and eliminating obscure vocabulary words such as “depreciatory” and “membranous,” instead relying on vocabulary more commonly used in college course. The use of a calculator will no longer be allowed on some of the test’s math sections. The new exam will also now be available on paper and computer.
College Board president David Coleman said the SAT had “become disconnected from the work of our high schools.”
Coleman also “announced new programs to help low-income students, who will now be given fee waivers allowing them to apply to four colleges at no charge,” according to The New York Times
. “And even before the new exam starts, the College Board, in partnership with Khan Academy, will offer free online practice problems from old tests and instructional videos showing how to solve them.”
Coleman said before the change, only 20% of classroom teachers view college-admission tests “as a fair measure of the work their students have done,” reports the Times.