In the latest inception of the SAT, the second ever change in the exam’s 88-year history, the College Board tried to make a test that would be more accessible to more people, for which preparation materials would be widely available, and wealthy students would have a harder time gaming the system by taking expensive classes. To that end, they’ve dropped the essay requirement, taken out the “SAT-word” vocabulary, done away with a rule that penalized guessing, and rejiggered the perfect score back to the classic 1600, among other changes. Today’s freshman class will be the first to take the test in two years, the Washington Post reports. Meanwhile, people who were junior-year test-takers years ago are being somewhat funny about this news on Twitter.
The first change came nine years ago, when the test went to 2400 points and the essays were introduced. College Board president David Coleman told the New York Times that both the SAT and its rival the ACT “have become disconnected from the work of our high schools.” So the Board is hoping this revamp will get the SATs more in line with what’s being taught in schools. The Times has a more thorough summary of the changes:
The changes coming to the exam are extensive: The SAT’s rarefied vocabulary words will be replaced by words that are common in college courses, such as “empirical” and “synthesis.” The math questions, now scattered widely across many topics, will focus more narrowly on linear equations, functions and proportional thinking. The use of a calculator will no longer be allowed on some of the math sections. The new exam will be available on paper and computer, and the scoring will revert to the old 1600 scale, with a top score of 800 on math and what will now be called “Evidence-Based Reading and Writing.” The optional essay will have a separate score.
In addition to all that, the College Board is offering test-takers fee waivers for college applications, and is partnering with Khan Academy to offer online practice problems and instructional videos for free.
This fairly straightforward educational news has become a somewhat enjoyable source of comedy on Twitter, where the nation’s leading journalistic thought leaders are offering incisive criticism via the #TweetYourSATScore hashtag:
Yep, the youth of America are going to be just fine.