Changes Made to SAT

Esther Frances, News Managing Editor

In the spring of 2016, the College Board made changes to the SAT that has had a wide range of effects on registration and outcomes. Students taking the SAT this year will expect to see more questions based off of readings, and an optional essay.

The SAT is a standardized test created by the College Board that students are able to take nationwide. From changes made, the SAT’s new formatting changed the way disabled students can obtain accommodations, such as getting extra time and sitting in a separate room.

According to the College Board website, “Educators, students, and families have asked us to simplify our process, and we’ve listened. The school staff knows their students best, and we want to cut down on the time and paperwork needed to submit a testing accommodations request,” president and chief executive of the College Board David Coleman said.

Applying now only requires a student to answer two questions about his or her accommodation plan, and if they have ever used accommodations on a test. If both answers are verified, that student is able to receive most accommodations on the College Board exams, such as the use of Braille or a computer to write essays, depending on the student. This change was implemented Jan. 1.

The new procedure is expected to make receiving test accommodations quicker and less stressful for parents and students according to the Washington Post.

As reported by the College Board, “We have been working with the College Board over the past year on the issue of testing accommodations, and we applaud them for taking steps to make the SAT more accessible to all students,” Connecticut Commissioner of Education Dianna R. Wentzell said.

According to the Resource Teacher for Special Education Thomas Rea, the change was made for school staff in particular in order make the process of entering data easier, which includes scanning and sending student accommodation information to the College Board.

The SSD at RHS that does all of the data entry will hopefully benefit as the process is now slightly more streamlined,” Rae said.

Along with the test accommodations, the content on the SAT has switched from a critical reading-based section to an evidence-based reading and writing. The time allotted also changed from 225 minutes and 171 questions to 230 minutes and 155 questions.

“[Knowing about the changes,] I would not have changed which test I took,” senior Nick Kurtz said. “I prepared by taking a prep class and studying from the SAT test book.”

According to the Princeton Review, a standardized test preparation organization, the new SAT resembles the current ACT, such as offering four answer choices instead of five, and there is no penalty for wrong answers.

“The major difference is in how the concepts are tested and the steps students will have to take to solve the problems correctly,” the Princeton Review said on their website. “Students have to reason their way through this exam by tackling problems in a linear and sequential fashion.”