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NEW SAT changes for college bound students

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The College Board announced recently that college bound students can expect a new (again), improved (again) version of the SAT (an acronym that means nothing). It seems that the changes made in 2005 did not have the desired effect that the College Board hoped it would. In fact, since the “New” SAT in 2005, fewer and fewer students have chosen it over the ACT. Students have flocked to the traditionally midwestern based test. It seems that until recently students were not aware of the perks the ACT offers: no penalty for guessing, an option 30 minute essay, the fact that colleges will accept the ACT without the additional SAT subject tests, a shorter sitting time…the list goes on.

The last time the College Board revamped the SAT they claimed they were doing so in an attempt to align more with high school educational standards - claim they currently assert about the pending changes. Every time they have attempted to achieve this goal they have failed. Ergo the need for continued changes. This time their changes will produce an exam that adheres more to the structure the ACT originally developed and the one the ACT continues to utilize (with no changes).

When the SAT changed in 2005 they wanted to do so in a way that did not make it obvious that they were evolving the model more towards the ACT (i.e. the essay was mandatory, they added an English section but did not use passages in it, etc), but this time they are essentially producing another version of the ACT minus the science section. Might they think that more students will begin using the SAT instead of the ACT because it does not have the "intimidating" science section on it?

Time will tell. For now, many of us will continue to speculate about the purpose of standardized tests and what they measure. It seems even the College Board does not know the answer to that question.



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