College Board makes major changes to SAT

Nicole Bueno

College Board announced Wednesday that it has revised its SAT, reversing many of the changes made to the test in its last revision in 2005. The new test will be administered in the spring of 2016, and College Board will publish sample sections on its website by April 16, 2014.

The major change in the revised test lies in its scoring format. The scale, raised from a 1600 to a 2400-point system in 2005, has been lowered back to its former scale. In addition, College Board will no longer penalize wrong answers with deductions.

Kedra Ishop, vice provost and director of admissions, said the University is still weighing the impact of the changes.

“How students perform will depend on, as it is for any test, how well students prepare rather than on the qualities of the test itself,” Ishop said. “It’s too early for us to know if or how the changes may affect our admission practices or policies.”

The new SAT will leave the essay portion as a separately-scored option for particularly strong writers to take advantage of, though colleges and universities can still request it from applicants. Chemical engineering senior Ishita Madan, an SAT tutor at Austin-based House of Tutors, said she thinks the test will be more practical, but the removal of the required essay might detract from other important skills.

“[The] SAT is important to encourage good writing styles, but removing the essay section may discourage high school students from focusing on their good writing techniques needed for college,” Madan said.

The new changes have brought about mixed reactions from students who see the new test as too relaxed, but finance senior Nancy Bonds said the impact would be positive.

“I’m not a huge fan of the standardized testing method of measuring student success,” Bonds said. “The changes better reflect the knowledge you need in college.”

College Board will partner with Khan Academy, a free online education service, to provide free test preparation materials to those without access to tutoring.

Ishop said the partnership fosters more equality for qualified students.

“That students from any background will have access to quality test preparation is a positive step forward to removing barriers for talented students to demonstrate their readiness for college,” Ishop said.