Thursday, March 06, 2014

Sharpen those pencils; the SAT test is getting harder

Gregg Zoroya
USA Today
March 5, 2014

Exam for high-schoolers gets a makeover designed to promote rigorous thinking and analysis.

Creators of the SAT exam announced plans Wednesday to toughen the test in the face of stagnant national scores, planning to challenge students to provide more analysis, cite evidence and even turn in their calculators before answering some math questions.

The new version will be first administered in 2016.

"It is time for an admissions assessment that makes it clear that the road to success is not last-minute tricks or cramming but the challenging learning students do every day," said David Coleman, president of the non-profit College Board, which produces the SAT, formerly known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test.

The SAT last underwent a redesign in 2005.

The other major college admissions exam for American students is the ACT, delivered to nearly 1.7 million each year. That test was recently changed and will be made available digitally in 2015, allowing students to see their results in minutes.

The freshly overhauled SAT test includes a more challenging essay assignment scored on the strength of analysis as well as writing. But the score for it will not be part of the final overall test result. Colleges can choose whether to consider it.

As a result of this change, the top score for the new SAT will drop from 2400 to 1600.

Test scoring also was changed, no longer deducting for an incorrect answer. Points are only added for correct answers.
While the scope of the exam has been narrowed in areas such as math and vocabulary, what remains requires more demanding problem-solving – what Coleman described in remarks released Wednesday as "doing a few things very well."

In analyzing reading passages in the exam, students must cite specific passages from extracts of well-known writings to support answers, something not necessary in the current version.

The new test will include science, history or social studies source documents that students will be required to analyze or draw citations from to support answers.

"We are not interested in students just picking an answer, but justifying the answer," Coleman said.
Read the full article HERE.

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