For many, the SAT, or Standardized Achievement Test, brings to mind obscure vocabulary and complex math problems.
Many students, teachers, and leaders in education feel this test has historically not shown a thorough representation of student’s abilities as a whole. This has prompted the The College Board, the organization that administers the SAT, to revamp the test in an effort to “support college readiness and success for more students.”
The College Board hopes to make the content of the test more relevant to the content caught in the classroom.
In spring 2016, students across the nation will experience the new, redesigned SAT. In the revised test, students will be asked to not only give an answer, but also provide evidence. According to the College Board website, the test will also include “an essay prompt to analyze a writer’s argument, and multistep problems requiring them [students] to apply math in real world contexts.” The revised test will take three hours, with an additional 50 minutes given for the essay. The college board is also suggesting that rigorous classroom work, rather than studying vocabulary for hours on end, will be better preparation for this exam. Another notable difference is that the essay portion will be optional, much like the optional writing on the ACT. Furthermore, there will be changes to the scoring of the test, as the new range for scores will be 400-1600, and points will no longer be taken off for wrong answers given.
While many Yankton High School students choose not to take the SAT and instead take only the ACT, these changes will impact many students. In conjunction with the SAT changing, the PSAT, or Practice SAT, will be changing as well. While this test is only a practice for the SAT, it does have tremendous impact on students, as it is the qualifying test for the NAtional Merit Scholar program, which could lead to scholarships for some students. These changes to the PSAT will be implemented in the Fall 2015 PSAT, in an effort to give students a chance to become acquainted with the changes.
Avery Brockberg and Lauryn Perk are both YHS sophomores and took the PSAT this year. They also plan on taking the revised PSAT next year. Avery Brockberg recalls his experience this year as being “boring and detached” from what he’s learned in the classroom, but concerning the new test he said, “I feel that this version of the PSAT will better help me prepare for the future.”
Perk has similar feelings, “ I feel that many of the vocab words were things we had never discussed in the classroom before.”
Overall, it seems as if students look forward to this more holistic approach of testing.