Aaliyah Singleton | Staff Writer
A new version of the SAT said to create a more accurate depiction of what students know, is scheduled to debut in Spring 2016. The new test will be scored out of 1600 points and will take approximately 45 fewer minutes to complete than the current version.
The SAT vocabulary section will be eliminated from the new test, which will instead feature words that are common in college courses such as “empirical” or “synthesis.” Other changes include the end of the penalty against a wrong guess, more linear equations, functions and proportional thinking, as well as both print and online versions of the test. The once mandatory essay, will also become an optional component that students may choose to omit from their overall their score.
For many educators, the hope is that these changes to the SAT will result in students who are much more college-ready. According to the College Board 2013 SAT Report on College and Career Readiness only 43 percent of students met the SAT benchmark. For underrepresented minorities this is an especially troubling fact given that 30 percent of test takers were from underrepresented minority backgrounds; however of these test takers 23.5 percent of Hispanic/Latino test takers achieved a 1550 or higher and 15.6 percent of African-American test takers met the benchmark.
Within recent years, there have been many claims the SAT puts minority students at a disadvantage. A 2008 report from UCLA found that the SAT “is a relatively poor predictor of student performance” and that high-school grades and other tests that able to tap into what students actually learn in school are much more valid indicators of how students are likely to perform in college. The researcher also found that, “As an admissions criterion, the SAT has a more adverse impact on poor and minority applicants than high-school grades, class rank and other measures of academic achievement.”
According to Anthony Carnevale current director of Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce and former vice president of the Educational Testing Service, “There’s a fundamental problem with the SAT.” Carnevale said, “the SAT has outlived its usefulness” because many educators now say a single test cannot accurately predict future success in college. If anything what the SAT does he says, is that it, “predicts perfectly higher-income kids with good grades,”
In a 2011 interview with CNN, Laurence Bunin, former vice president of the SAT program at College Board said,”The [SAT] is a fair test that helps to mirror what’s going on in this country.