Changes to the SAT are Announced

The long-awaited changes to the new SAT have been announced, with a full description due in mid-April. The redesign comes in response to criticism about the content of the test, pressure from the increasingly popularity of the ACT, and a trend toward test-optional admissions at a number of schools. Ultimately, the change is intended to more closely align the SAT with the real work of college and career.

Starting in the spring of 2016, it appears that students will be filling gyms and cafeterias on Saturday mornings to take a new and quite different SAT. Here are the biggest changes:

  • The SAT will be offered in print and, at selected locations, on computer.
  • There will be three sections: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, Math, and the Essay.
  • The length of the SAT will be about three hours, with an added 50 minutes for the essay. Precise timing will be finalized after further research.
  • The exam will once again be scored on a 400- to 1600-point scale. The Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section and the Math section will each be scored on a 200- to 800-point scale. Scores for the Essay will be reported separately.
  • No penalty for wrong answers. (We’re certain this will make students very happy.)

In addition, much of the content of the test will change.

1. The evidence-based reading and writing section will require students to demonstrate their ability to interpret and use evidence found in a range of sources including graphics and texts.

2. The essay will be optional and will require students to read a passage and analyze how the author builds an argument, supporting their claims with direct evidence from the provided passage.

3. Math will focus on 3 areas: Problem Solving and Data Analysis, the Heart of Algebra, and Passport to Advanced Math.

4. All problems will be grounded in real-world context.

5. Each version of the test will include an excerpt from one of the United States’ founding documents, such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.