New SAT format well overdue

By: Steven Goodman – Columnist, Sophomore

The biggest item in the news lately has been the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. This is important, but there has also been a big change for the U.S., may have been overlooked. The College Board just recently announced there will be some major changes to what is probably the most well-known test in the country, the SAT.

Personally, I think some changes to the SAT are long overdue. I never felt the test was a good representation of how I (or anyone else) would do in college. I know I’m not alone in thinking that. David Coleman, the president of the College Board, said that only 20 percent of teachers see this test as a “fair measure of the work their students have done.”

Some of the changes, which are coming in spring 2016, are major. For example, the essay portion will now become optional. Also, the deduction of points for incorrect answers will no longer occur. To me, losing points never made sense. Knowing that I will lose points for taking a guess just put an extra helping of stress on top of the heavy burden already weighing on my mind.

Another change coming is the swapping out of vocabulary words on the test. Words such as “depreciatory” and “membranous” will be replaced with words that would actually be used in a college-level classroom like “synthesis” and “empirical.” Certainly there are people who know these words that are being replaced, but the SAT should always be focused on general knowledge that should be known by the general population.

The changes do not stop at the edges of the SAT booklet. Instead, they expand into test-preparation and how questions will be answered. The College Board is teaming up with Khan Academy a great, free tutoring site to offer free practice problems and videos showing the solutions to said problems.

The reading portion of the SAT, which is to be renamed “evidence-based reading and writing,” will move from simple multiple choice to asking test-takers to provide a quote found in the selection to justify their answers. The questions that always drove me nuts in the reading section were asking what I thought the best title would be for a selection. That seemed borderline opinion to me, as though more than one answer would be appropriate.

Despite the fact that the changes won’t be coming until 2016, and not to mention the fact that we are all done with taking the SAT, I’m glad the College Board is finally making some changes. These are long overdue and it’s about time the test entered the 21st century and became on par with a typical junior or senior in high school’s has knowledge.

Flyer News: Univ. of Dayton's Student Newspaper