The new SAT has been revealed

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    Canada's Oshimen Shinobu's Avatar
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    Default The new SAT has been revealed

    Saying its college admission exams do not focus enough on the important academic skills, the College Board announced on Wednesday a fundamental rethinking of the SAT, ending the longstanding penalty for guessing wrong, cutting obscure vocabulary words and making the essay optional.

    The president of the College Board, David Coleman, criticized his own test, the SAT, and its main rival, the ACT, saying that both had “become disconnected from the work of our high schools.”

    In addition, Mr. Coleman announced programs to help low-income students, who will now be given fee waivers allowing them to apply to four colleges at no charge. And even before the new exam is introduced, in the spring of 2016, the College Board, in partnership with Khan Academy, will offer free online practice problems and instructional videos showing how to solve them.

    The changes are extensive: The SAT’s rarefied vocabulary challenges will be replaced by words that are common in college courses, like “empirical” and “synthesis.” The math questions, now scattered across many topics, will focus more narrowly on linear equations, functions and proportional thinking. The use of a calculator will no longer be allowed on some of the math sections.

    Among other changes, the new test will not ask students to define arcane words, relying instead on vocabulary used in college courses. The new exam will be available on paper and computer, and the scoring will revert to the old 1,600-point scale — from 2,400 — with top scores of 800 on math and 800 on what will now be called “evidence-based reading and writing.” The optional essay, which strong writers may choose to do, will have a separate score.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/06/education/major-changes-in-sat-announced-by-college-board.html?hp&_r=0

    I can't say anyone's losing out on much with the removal of the writing section.
    Last edited by Shinobu; 5th March 2014 at 10:40 PM.

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    piyo Leggo's Avatar
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    Default Re: The new SAT has been revealed

    These reforms sound good.

    Though, it doesn't really matter to me anymore since I'm already in college. xD

    I think the highest I have gotten on the writing section was an 8. The second time I took the SAT, I was distracted by my No. 2 pencils since I usually used mechanical pencils.

    Taking out the penalty system (for wrong answers) for the SAT seems similar to taking out the penalty system for AP tests.

    The SAT was basically a guessing (gambling) game for me as I did try to skip some questions if I didn't know them.

    With the new changes, this SAT does sound easier than the former.

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    Beausoleil Jabberwocky's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: The new SAT has been revealed

    Ugh, wish I'd had this last year. I had to take my SAT while still under the effects of sedatives from my wisdom teeth surgery. I mean, I still did decently, but with this new test I probably would have done pretty good.

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    I'm [not] a pirate Jolene's Avatar
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    Default Re: The new SAT has been revealed

    It seems the "If you don't know you just don't know" philosophy for these tests no longer apply.
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    Y > X

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    The Lone Wolf Duke Org Zen-Aku's Avatar
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    Default Re: The new SAT has been revealed

    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky View Post
    Ugh, wish I'd had this last year. I had to take my SAT while still under the effects of sedatives from my wisdom teeth surgery. I mean, I still did decently, but with this new test I probably would have done pretty good.
    aw that sucks i had all my teeth cut out almost 5 years ago now which one pf the reason i have the nickname of catfish or my pokemon friends call me Whiscash and/or Nemo

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    Fire Ferrets Forever Mako's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: The new SAT has been revealed

    Man kids these days are getting things so easy... *

    *mumbles something about having had to walk to school uphill both ways in the snow barefoot*

    *now feels old having made that reference*


    Now for my thoughts on the changes:

    I've blogged about my academics in the past at some length (well back when I was still in college) and the removal of the writing section does hurt one subsection of students: That being the ones (like myself) who can write quickly, accurately and effectively. In addition to that, the dumbing down of the test is another factor that will hurt students like myself, who relied on their incredibly high test scores and extracurricular activities, rather than their high school grades, to get into one of those elite universities (top 15, top 25, top 50 whatever... you know, the hyper competitive schools where you need every bit of advantage you can get... and a little bit of luck on the side). The reason that I say this is that with a dumbed down test, scores will naturally increase (by increase I mean the scores on the two remaining sections, not a total increase). And with the removal of 800 points, it will be harder to separate yourself from the pack with your test scores. For instance, someone with scores on the old test of 2320 (I'll use a hypothetical 800 math, 740 reading, 740 writing as an example) loses one of those high numbers, making their new score say a 1540. Still good, but doesn't jump off the page like the first number did. Especially since the average score is going to go up with the changes. So yes, while the subset of students that loses out with the removal of the writing section is very small, it does exist (reiterating that I would have been one of those students if I were a sophomore in high school right now rather than a BC alum).

    That being said, the application fee waivers and the partnership with Khan Academy are great ideas that should help to level the playing field just a little bit. The SAT had been criticized in the past for being racist (an unfair accusation) and classist (a fair accusation), so anything that can help address those concerns is a good thing.
    Last edited by Mako; 14th March 2014 at 09:42 AM. Reason: can't grammar before 11 AM apparently
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    Default Re: The new SAT has been revealed

    Honestly, although I absolutely agree with the fee waivers and some of the changes do sound very appropriate, having the double-edged sword that is the perspective of being in another kind of academic system entirely, all I can think is that some of this stuff sounds even easier than ever. I didn't think too highly of the SAT from what I had already heard and that hasn't changed much, save for the more realistically appropriate adaptation to include "college" vocabulary and disallow use of calculators in some mathematics sections. I'm all for making academia more accessible for those of all classes and backgrounds, but the SAT didn't sound very intellectually stretching compared to other systems I am familiar with and still doesn't now.



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    Default Re: The new SAT has been revealed

    I don't think removing the writing section is a good idea, the ability to argue a point in a clear, logical manner is an invaluable skill in the workplace and in everyday life. It really devalues one's education to have the writing de-emphasized.

    As for the general "tests have become disconnected from the work of our high schools" argument, I'd say that the problem is the high schools, not the standardized tests. The SATs, ACTs, and AP exams I felt, were much better indicators of college success than my high school grades, and that's because high school IMO doesn't do a good job of promoting a good work ethic, which is invaluable in college and in the workplace. It's mainly the same rote memorization that you can coast on in grade school.
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    Default Re: The new SAT has been revealed

    Changing the test will give an immediate advantage to the well-heeled who can afford new practice books. Otherwise smart kids will always do better than dumb ones -- any shifts will be nuanced over time. Those nuances are too many in detail. For example, will anyone get a significantly better test score because esoteric vocabulary words are stripped away?
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    Canada's Oshimen Shinobu's Avatar
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    Default Re: The new SAT has been revealed

    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenicks View Post
    Changing the test will give an immediate advantage to the well-heeled who can afford new practice books. Otherwise smart kids will always do better than dumb ones -- any shifts will be nuanced over time. Those nuances are too many in detail. For example, will anyone get a significantly better test score because esoteric vocabulary words are stripped away?
    I think it will help those who can afford coaching and preparation materials, but not exactly in the way you describe. The vocabulary is by far the hardest aspect of the test to coach students for, so making it less esoteric helps the test prep market substantially. It's kind of ironic considering that the College Board is also trying to dampen the comparative advantages that paid test prep provides.

    Keep in mind that score scaling should take into account the difficulty of the test and content changes. Even if higher scaled scores become more common, they're just a representation of percentiles, which are what really matter.

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    Master Exploder GastonGibus's Avatar
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    Default Re: The new SAT has been revealed

    I'm of the opinion that the SAT's should never have existed in the first place. It's a terrible method of grading "potential," and all it does is freak people out and destroy their self-esteem if they do bad, which most of the time, you will do bad taking it for the first time because of the stress put on it. It's treated as some all-important test where if you don't do good, you're obviously a terrible human being and you should just go work fast-food for the rest of your life because you'll never amount to anything. >_>

    On the other end of the spectrum, let's assume you do really well and get top scores. Now, instead of the kids having a destroyed self-esteem, now they've got an inflated ego. "Woohoo, I got 2200/2400! Obviously I'm super smart or something!" Congratulations, you're good a memorization and pointless trivia. Way to go, I guess.

    The SAT is a joke. It's so horribly flawed and broken, and nobody is willing to admit it.

    Just my $0.02.
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    Canada's Oshimen Shinobu's Avatar
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    Default Re: The new SAT has been revealed

    Quote Originally Posted by GastlyGibus View Post
    Congratulations, you're good a memorization and pointless trivia. Way to go, I guess.
    Actually if you want to show your mastery pointless trivia you'll want to take the US history subject test. Regardless I think you may be overstating how much value people put into SAT scores. Usually if people do badly they take it again. If they do well they usually don't. "Well" and "badly" are very subjective in the case of SAT scores since everyone has a different goal depending on to where they're applying.
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    Default Re: The new SAT has been revealed

    Probably is because of the timing, some people can't finish math problems in 20 minutes, I just took the SAT, and I struggled more on the reading section, since I usually take my time to read the passages

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    Hipsteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeer Phoenicks's Avatar
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    Default Re: The new SAT has been revealed

    Quote Originally Posted by GastlyGibus View Post
    I'm of the opinion that the SAT's should never have existed in the first place. It's a terrible method of grading "potential," and all it does is freak people out and destroy their self-esteem if they do bad, which most of the time, you will do bad taking it for the first time because of the stress put on it. It's treated as some all-important test where if you don't do good, you're obviously a terrible human being and you should just go work fast-food for the rest of your life because you'll never amount to anything. >_>

    On the other end of the spectrum, let's assume you do really well and get top scores. Now, instead of the kids having a destroyed self-esteem, now they've got an inflated ego. "Woohoo, I got 2200/2400! Obviously I'm super smart or something!" Congratulations, you're good a memorization and pointless trivia. Way to go, I guess.

    The SAT is a joke. It's so horribly flawed and broken, and nobody is willing to admit it.

    Just my $0.02.
    How would you compare so many American students? Pretend we eliminate this proxy for an intelligence test. How would you go about assessing intelligence?
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    Beausoleil Jabberwocky's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: The new SAT has been revealed

    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenicks View Post

    How would you compare so many American students? Pretend we eliminate this proxy for an intelligence test. How would you go about assessing intelligence?
    There is no accurate way to assess "intelligence," because intelligence is such a vague and nebulous concept at its core and may vary wildly even within a single person depending on what subject you're looking at.

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