The CollegeBoard, the fine folks behind the SAT, both the old and new versions, has released an informative little comparison chart for those looking to better understand how the new SAT will be different from the current SAT. Remember, the first time you can take the official new SAT and have it count will be in March 2016. The last administration of the SAT in its current format will be January of 2016.
So, member of the class of 2016, don’t even worry about the new SAT; just focus on doing the best you can on the current one or the ACT+Writing. For those in the Class of 2017 or later, your way forward is a bit more murky.
For months we have advised all of our students to study hard for the ACT+Writing since it’s the known quantity, and frankly one that we have deemed easier than the SAT for years. Yet, as more information comes about about the new SAT, we feel confident in saying that it will aim to be even easier than the current ACT+Writing. Thus, if you are member of the Class of 2017, feel free to take the current SAT if you like, but we feel nine times out of ten, you will be just fine waiting for the new SAT or sticking to the ACT.
Without further ado, here are the big differences between the current SAT and brand-spanking new version that comes out just before the Ides of March 2016:
|Compare the current SAT to the redesigned SAT to see what’s changing.|
|Current SAT||Redesigned SAT|
|Reading and writing sections do not require students to cite evidence. Students select answers to demonstrate their understanding of texts but are not asked to support their answers.||Evidence-based reading and writing. Students will support answers with evidence, including questions that require them to cite a specific part of a passage to support their answer choice.|
|Source documents do not represent a wide range of academic disciplines. While many different types of text might appear on any SAT, there is no requirement that students encounter scientific or historical sources.||Source documents originate from a wide range of academic disciplines. On every SAT, students will encounter source texts from science, history, and social studies, analyzing them the way they would in those classes.|
|Vocabulary focused on words that are sometimes obscure and not widely used in college and career. These words, while interesting and useful in specific instances, often lack broad utility in varied disciplines and contexts.||Vocabulary focused on words that are widely used in college and career. The exam will focus on words such as synthesis and empirical whose specific meaning depends on the context.|
|The essay measures students’ ability to construct an argument based on their background and experiences. Since students are not given source material, there is no way to verify the accuracy of their argument or examples.||The essay measures students’ ability to analyze evidence and explain how an author builds an argument to persuade an audience. Responses will be evaluated based on the strength of the analysis as well as the coherence of the writing.|
|Math section samples content from a wide range of high school-level math. There are often only one or two questions on each topic and students need to cover a great deal of math to be prepared for all topics.||Math section draws from fewer topics that evidence shows most contribute to student readiness for college and career training. Students can study these core math areas in depth and have confidence that they will be assessed.|
|Calculator permitted for full math section. It is difficult to assess students’ sense of numbers, their fluency in calculation, and their ability understand concepts rather than plug in the answers.||Calculator permitted on certain portions of the math section. The calculator can be used where most appropriate, but the no-calculator section allows greater assessment of students’ understanding, fluency, and technique.|
|Reading and writing does not require data analysis. The reading and writing section does not often include passages from science and social studies with graphs and tables; questions rarely require students to both read text and analyze data.||Students asked to analyze both text and data in real world contexts, including identifying and correcting inconsistencies between the two. Students will show the work they do throughout their classes by reading science articles and historical and social studies sources.|
|Source documents drawn from texts that are not widely recognized and publicly available. Students have no idea before they take the test what the reading passages will be about.||Each exam will include a passage drawn from the Founding Documents or the Great Global Conversation. Students read from either a founding document such as the Declaration of Independence or from the conversation they inspire in the United States and around the world, such as Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address or King’s” I Have a Dream” speech.|
|Scoring deducts points for incorrect answers. Students get ¼ point deducted for incorrect answers; no points deducted for omitted answers.||Scoring does not deduct points for incorrect answers (rights-only scoring). Students are encouraged to select the best answer to every question.|
|Essay is required.||Essay is optional.|
|Score scale of 2400.||Score scale of 1600 with separate score for Essay.|
|SAT available on paper only.||SAT available in paper and digital forms.|