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SAT goes back to 1,600 scale, makes other major changes

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by LongTimeListener, Mar 6, 2014.

  1. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member


    Beginning in 2016, they've turned the essay portion into an optional exercise with a separate score (since 2005 the maximum score for now is 2,400). To me the most significant change is they've eliminated the penalty for guessing wrong, which is a big shift in how they've done it throughout history.

    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.

    Focus on making the tests more accessible to low-income students too.

    I think Kaplan and other test-prep companies might have gotten too good at their jobs. They've collected enough data that they knew not only testing strategies, but specific patterns of material covered on tests. It has become a test of how much money a student's parents spent on test prep.
  2. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    He said he also wanted to make the test reflect more closely what students did in high school...

    If it's just going to mirror high school course work, what's the point?
  3. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    There's a LONGFORM! piece on the iPad app - presumably also on the Web site and maybe appearing in the Sunday magazine - about the tutor who pushed the SAT hard to change the writing component. The strategies he taught totally pantsed the test. He told students, for example, to memorize a couple of FDR quotes, and use them no matter what the test topic was, and to have a few big words ready to use, again, no matter the topic.

    Here it is:

  4. Guy_Incognito

    Guy_Incognito Well-Known Member

    Grades are subjective school to school, class to class. This would be an equalizer. The ACT already does this and is becoming more & more popular.
  5. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    To test whether they learned what you are supposed to learn in time for college. It's a check against high school grade inflation. It also stops students, theoretically, from blowing off high school to study for the SAT, when the areas of learning don't overlap, like now.
  6. mjp1542

    mjp1542 Member

    Very much against taking the penalty away for answering incorrectly. Not that the SAT is anywhere close to a perfect test, but to allow people to just go in and mash circles hoping to get a higher score seems to go against the spirit of the thing. Just answer everything you know, and then guess the rest. So what should have been a 600 with about 10 answers left blank could lead to guessing correctly on 3-4 more and upping the score. Scores almost certainly will rise, giving us an artificial belief that our kids are achieving at a higher level.
  7. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Agree with this. Also think it will lead to a little more gaming of the system -- usually when you leave one blank, it's not because you have no clue but because you can't decide between two of the answers. Bat .500 on those and you look better; bat .800 and you look a LOT better.
  8. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    Yep. And everyone will claim success.
  9. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    If only there was some way to administer tests to grade school and high school kids to do this.
  10. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Noteworthy that the group helping formulate the new tests is the Khan Academy -- started by an early Google employee and very active with Common Core. It's really a good group -- a robust website if you're ever looking for summer projects to keep your kids busy, and they run some great camps (my son went to a robot-building one last year).

    And, the president of the College Board (SAT company) is described in the article as "an architect of the Common Core curriculum standards."

    There's an undeniable storyline here of equalizing the test -- in math, for instance, it will become less about how far the school offered classeas than about how well you've learned the material up to a certain point.
  11. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Don't they scale it to a percentile? That's what they do with the LSAT. 169 is always the 97th percentile, 170 is always the 97.5th percentile, etc., etc., etc. People are getting better at the test because of Kaplan, PowerScore, etc., etc., but the scores stay the same.
  12. Rusty Shackleford

    Rusty Shackleford Active Member

    Yes, I agree. Most of these changes sound like they're making the SAT easier. Now you can guess at any answer you don't know, the word challenges apparently will involve more common (read: easier) words, and math will focus on two areas.

    I guarantee that the average score will be higher on this version than on previous versions, everyone will talk about how much smarter kids are getting, and we'll end up even with even dumber college kids than before.
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