Update: listening to the NPR story this morning, I heard a few interesting things about this story like:
- David Coleman, the head of the SAT, says it will be better aligned to what is being taught in high school. Fair enough, until you learn that he helped write the CC standards. Oh.
- also, apparently historically, the SAT was NOT supposed to follow high school curriculum
End of update.
For one thing, the SAT essay will be optional by 2016 - there's a big change. The SAT essay will have to have accurate data and facts to support the essay which leads me to believe that somehow the essay topics must be given out. How else can any student have facts at their fingertips broad enough to cover whatever is thrown at them?
Here's a handy Ed Week chart outlining the current SAT, the new one and how it aligns with - what else? - Common Core.
Here's a link to the LA Times story on this issue.
It will be interesting to see what colleges/universities want to see. Will you have a better chance to get in if your student DOES write an essay?
As well, no more penalties for guessing.
Another big change - use of calculators goes from using it for the full math section to only certain portions. (This flows from how the two testing consortia will allow calculators to be used on Common Core assessments.)
Of course the SAT needed updating. Do I agree with narrowing the vocabulary to "words widely used in college and career?" I worry a bit about that for sure.
I also worry about this:
The grades 9-10 reading standards call for students to “analyze seminal U.S. documents of historical and literary significance (e.g., Washington’s Farewell Address, the Gettysburg Address, Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms speech, King’s ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’), including how they address related themes and concepts.”
Why? Because early Common Core feedback - from the Gettysburg Address - shows that students aren't being asked to explain significance of the the Address but "themes and concepts." To take the address out of historical context, to me, lessens the whole point of reading it.
Some of these changes were made around equity issues of coaching to take the SAT.
To help address that issue, the College Board is starting a partnership
with the online Khan Academy to offer a free series of practice exams
and videos about good test-taking practices. The Silicon Valley-based
Khan Academy has become one of the most popular online-education sites,
particularly for its math offerings.
However, CBS news reports this:
Despite the shift, Bob Schaeffer of FairTest.org,
who has been a vocal critic of the SAT, was not impressed with the
SAT's new direction. He also remains skeptical that the free test-prep
service will level the playing field for students of different financial
"The partnership with the Khan Academy is unlikely
to make a dent in the huge market for high-priced, personalized SAT
workshops and tutoring that only well-to-do families can afford," he
said. "Like most of the other College Board initiatives announced today,
this move is less significant than its promoters claim."