As you might be familiar, the SAT is changing. For the past 10 years, the SAT was on a 2400-scale. However, the SAT is now going back to a 1600-scale. I say “back to” because the SAT had always been out of 1600 points prior to 2005. However, the 1600-SAT exam that you are going to take will be different than the one your parents took when they were in high school. So you might be wondering, why is the SAT changing?
High School Common Core
I’ll start by giving you the reasons that the College Board, the company that publishes the SAT, gives for why the SAT is changing. First, the College Board states that this SAT makeover is so that the SAT is better aligned with the Common Core. The Common Core is a set of standards that have been developed in an attempt to make sure that students across the nation are meeting some basic requirements for each grade level. The President of College Board, David Coleman, was a key person in helping develop the Common Core. Therefore, when he took over as the President of the College Board in 2012, David Coleman was very interested in aligning the SAT with the Common Core.
However, the SAT has always proclaimed that it tests what students learn in high school. This is nothing new. Aligning the SAT with the Common Core is not a huge change to the longstanding mission of the SAT. It will continue to be an exam that asks standardized questions in Reading, Writing, and Math.
Better Workforce & Democracy
Perhaps the most ridiculous reason that the College Board gives for why the SAT is changing is that it will create a better workforce and a better democracy. I personally have never heard of a standardized test creating a better society!? For example, the College Board may claim that the problem-solving that you learn for the SAT will help you better problem solve when you are working in a job. However, I don’t believe most people think about the obscure algebra problem they did on the SAT when they encounter a problem at work. In addition, to claim that math, reading, and writing problems will create a better democracy is quite a stretch. In any case, this is actually what the College Board is claiming about this new SAT.
Of course, the College Board makes these claims because it needs the SAT to be accepted as an admissions exam for college. If the SAT did not reflect what students learned in high school, did not better prepare students for the workforce/college, and did not create a better democracy, it would be less likely to be used as a college admissions exam. Therefore, I wouldn’t believe the hype. The SAT is simply one exam that is trying to create a standardized measure to compare high school students across the nation. I do admit that the SAT does a very good job at making a standardized exam that measures students based on their level of preparation. The key here is “based on their level of preparation.” If a student has prepared extensively for the SAT, their score will be directly related to that. If a student has never prepared for the SAT, their score will usually reflect that.