New Changes to America’s Favorite Test

Brittany Kubicko ’15
EE Managing Editor

Attention Trumbull High students: the SATs are changing, and it looks like these changes are going to be huge for your future. Currently the test consists of a 3 hour and 45 minute period where one takes a ten-section test, consisting of critical reading sections that consist of arbitrary vocabulary and passage reading questions, math sections that contain everything you’ve learned in your math classes, and writing sections that have editing/revising questions and a 25 minute essay. For every question right a student gets one point, for every question wrong a quarter of a point is deducted, and for every question blank the student receives no points. All those points add up to score on a 2400-point scale, where 2400 is the highest score that one can receive.

These new changes, which take effect in the spring of 2016, get rid of the essay (calling it optional) and will contain two sections: evidence-based reading and writing and math. The evidence-based reading section will contain, according to the New York Times Magazine, passages such as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution that will include a broader range of disciplines for test takers to explore, as well as easier vocabulary that the typical high school student would understand. The math section will have sections that would prepare you for a college math course, including algebra, geometry and trigonometry.

The biggest change however, comes nine years after the essay was first introduced to the SATs. When the essay was introduced, the point-scale changed from 1600 to 2400, but now that the essay is optional the point scale will go back to 1600.
Since these changes will take effect in 2016, the class of 2017 will be the first class to experience the new test. Therefore, students like junior Brittany Kuznitz are not worried about these changes.
“I’m not too concerned about the changes to the SATs because I have already received the scores I wanted” says Kuznitz.
Junior Christina Lane mentions how these changes will help make the test better. Says Lane, “There have been many flaws with the SATs in general and it seems that the new SATs will fix this.”

Other students, like Julia Sirkin, say that they wish that this test were implemented now. Says the THS junior, “I just wish that we could have taken the new SAT test because I feel like it’s going to be a lot more applicable to real life and actually help to prepare them for college and jobs”.

Even with these changes, the SAT still is the most controversial standardized test around, saying that it helps predict future performance in college and for later life. However, this is not true, as most colleges briefly look at scores in conjunction with high school grades, extra curricular activities, and personal essays. According to the New York Times Magazine, students with good grades in high school actually are successful in college, even if they had not so great SAT scores.

In addition, it seems as if the SAT is not fair to students. Most call the SAT an opportunity test, where those who have the money to afford fancy tutors and prep classes tend to do better on the test to those who are unable to. It is not fair that students who aren’t able to have all this prep get lower scores, preventing them from attending the college of their dreams. The SATs should not define a student’s future performance; money and opportunities to beat the test get into the way, and the College Board and colleges do not recognize this.

The SAT in general is not a fair way to access a student’s future performance, but with these new changes it seems that the test will be easier for students to take, ensuring better scores. We have to wait until 2016 to see this new test; only time will tell if the test will be effective for the next generation of high school students to come.

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