Rhode Island Monthly Higher Learning 2016 : Page 7

M arch 31 will mark the advent of the newly redesigned SAT. Although the College Board has implemented changes before, the 2016 SAT release represents the most significant revision to date. The test has undergone a complete overhaul, from critical reading and math to writing. Every section is different in style, content and scoring. The hisTory of College enTranCe exaMs To understand the new SAT, it’s important to look at the reasons driving the College Board to alter the test in such a monumental way. Created in the 1920s by the developers of the IQ Test, the SAT became popular in the 1950s as an aptitude test and enjoyed widespread dominance in the college entrance exam market until recent years. As early as 1938, test prepara-tion companies like Kaplan and Princeton Review began catering to higher income families seeking better test scores for their children. Amidst criticism regarding the value of aptitude testing, the College Board ceased to use the test’s full name in recent years and began using only the acronym SAT. For decades the SAT had two sections: critical reading and mathematics. Each was worth 800 points, and a perfect score was 1600. Slowly, the SAT began to morph under pressure from academics who said it was outdated and gave an unfair advan-tage to white males, who typically scored higher on the test than women and minorities. In 2005, the College Board added a writing section and tried to move toward a more achievement-based test. The total perfect score rose to 2400. However, many colleges never bought into the writing section and did not use it or weighted it less than the other sections of the SAT in their decisions. Meanwhile, slowly and stealthily, the ACT was gaining nationwide traction. A more achievement-and course-based test with fewer tricks, the ACT emerged in 1959 from the University of Iowa. In its early years, it saw favor in western and midwestern admissions, and by 2012, it surpassed the SAT as the most popular college entrance exam. Combined with a growing movement among colleges to offer test-optional admissions, this put pressure on the College Board to redesign the SAT for 2016. aligning WiTh The TiMes and CoMMon Core In an effort to make the SAT more relevant to actual course work in high school and college, the College Board decided to change both the content and structure of the test. The new test contains two sections, each of which is worth 800 points. The content aligns more closely with Common Core requirements in an effort to measure what students have learned in school. The move also seeks to level the playing field and eliminate the advantage of wealthier students who can afford test prep. Free preparation materials are now offered on the Khan Academy website under a partnership with the College Board. What test takers need to know is that the changes from the old to the new test are significant: Very little content has remained the same. The critical reading section will become the evidence-based reading and writing section and will focus on the analyses of texts, n n n n n n n n Challenge yourself with Ivy League academics Prepare to succeed in a college environment Meet exceptional students from around the world More than 300 Academic Courses Sessions 1 to 7 Weeks in Length College Credit Options STEM for Middle & High School Students Summer Sports Camps www.brown.edu/summer RHODE ISL AND MONTHLY I higher le arning I 2016 7

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