The New SAT

The College Board announced this week that it is going to make sweeping changes to the SAT beginning in 2016.  

Criticized both for giving an advantage to wealthy kids who can afford expensive test prep courses and also for creating extreme anxiety for students due to the unpredictability of what will be tested, the SAT has long been in need of a makeover.  

According to The College Board, the test will remain predictive of how a student will perform in college, but instead of testing knowledge of arcane vocabulary words, reading comprehension of random passages and the ability to solve high-level math problems, the new SAT will test whether students understand words that they’re likely to encounter in college (like “party” when used in a political sense), it will test comprehension of founding documents and texts (like the Bill of Rights or Martin Luther King’s I Have A Dream speech), and it will test fundamental math skills that students need to perform well in college and in life, like algebra, ratios and percentages, as well as test students’ handling of more advanced, complex equations.

As a former college counselor, I can tell you that this is great news for kids who work hard in school and get good grades.  The only kids for whom these changes should be a problem are those who are smart but lazy (the ones who skate by in school doing little work and getting average grades, but then rock the SAT because they’re inherently good problem solvers), and those who aren't that smart but are good at memorization (the kids who don’t take any advanced classes but sit at home memorizing the dictionary).