Although the College Board claims to be a nonprofit company, it still clearly worries about market share. So it comes as no surprise that the new SAT is morphing into its unsophisticated midwestern cousin, the kinder, gentler ACT, which has been trending big time in urban areas on the coasts.
The proposed new version of the SAT, launching in 2016, strives to become more “relevant” by eliminating obscure vocab, ending the penalty for guessing, making the essay optional, allowing computers, and using founding documents such as the Declaration of Independence for reading comprehension.
The College Board is also teaming with Khan Academy to offer free prep online and focusing on “Command of Evidence” (whatever that is) “…found in a wide range of sources, including informational graphics”
Here is a graphic used on the SAT site to illustrate that the new exam will have “problems grounded in a real-world context…with informational graphics.” If spiky Europe is an indication of what is to come, these new graphics should be a blast to interpret.
Sadly, this could be too little too late. These changes will cause even more kids to gravitate to the tried and true ACT, without having to worry about whether about their SAT tutors updating their flashcards.
The Neurotic Parent Institute has just released findings of a study showing that if the SAT really wants to re-engage test-takers, it will have to alter its exam by truly making it more relevant in the following ways:
– Change the start time to 1pm, the hour that most teenagers wake up
– Offer free Red Bull and Frappuccinos – granola bars are so 20th century
– Grant extended time for anyone with anxiety caused by parental helicoptering, overscheduling or Instagram inferiority issues
– Allow unlimited texting and Googling during the exam – essential research skills for college students
– Incorporate advanced hashtag usage into the #grammarandpunctation section.
– Bring back the iconic analogies, the only fun part of the exam – These were deemed culturally biased because of the notorious regatta: oarsman comparison, but most college hopefuls now know all about crew, thanks to the Winklevosses.
– Employ angel investors as proctors – If you can pitch them a good idea, you get to skip college altogether and go straight to running your own start-up.
So sharpen your #2s, ninth graders. Here’s to relevance in test taking.