Redesigned SAT Coming

Do you know the College Board is redesigning the SAT? Spring 2016 marks the unveiling of a SAT that looks radically different from the current version. Beginning with the class of 2017 (current sophomores), students will take a SAT that reverts back to the 1600 point scale versus the current 2400 that became standard in the 2005 revision of the SAT.

Here is a snapshot of some of the other changes coming to the SAT:

Format and length: The current test has three score categories, Critical Reading, Mathematics and Writing, including a mandatory essay, with 3 hours, 45 minutes testing time. The redesigned SAT will have three sections, Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math, and the Essay. Including the essay, optional in this revision, total testing time is 3 hours, 50 minutes.

Scoring: Aside from the total score change, the most significant scoring change is the elimination of the ¼ point deduction for wrong answers.

Evidence-Based Reading and Writing: Sentence completions are gone and students will read longer passages (500-750 words) to test their use of grammar, punctuation, structure, and rhetoric. A new twist is founding documents such as the Declaration of Independence and texts deemed part of the Great Global Conversation requires students to engage in critical analysis and deeper understanding of this material. Additionally, interpreting graphs and charts across the curriculum, including Science, is a departure from the current SAT.

Math: There is a stronger emphasis on Algebra. All of the questions require students to demonstrate their ability to problem solve using multiple steps and apply their mathematical skills to real world situations. For example, one sample question asks students to use a scatterplot to determine the average yearly increase of manatees in Florida. Of note, one section of the math is calculator-free.

Essay: Mandatory in the current version, the essay becomes a 50-minute option deemphasizing creativity and focusing on critical analysis. Facts, not students’ opinions, dominate. Underscoring this change, the prompt concludes with “Your essay should not explain whether you agree with [the author’s] claims, but rather explain how [the author] builds an argument to persuade his audience.”

Test Prep: The College Board has a partnership with Khan Academy to provide free, comprehensive test prep. Stay tuned for more news on that partnership.

Why these changes now? College Board, once the leading provider of college admission tests in terms of numbers, recently lost ground to the ACT and the trend continues. In 2012, ACT test-takers (1,666,017) outnumbered SAT test takers (1,664,479) for the first time. More students are taking admission tests in general and the ACT has more than 15 state-funded partnerships to administer the test to juniors, including North Carolina.

Will the Redesigned SAT regain its place in the testing world? Time will tell. To get updates, go to Delivering Opportunity and register for updates from the College Board.

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May 2021 Update

Professional development continues to be a major factor in my work life. With physical visits to campuses curtailed during 2020 (most are re-opening for in-person visits), I spend about 7 -10 hours per week on virtual visits with college admission counselors. The IECA, one of my professional organizations, regularly conducts College Conversations, an hour-long presentation with time built in for Q & A. To date, members of IECA had sessions with the colleges on the chart. Additionally, I added to this list by facilitating sessions in my capacity as the college counselor for the Montessori School of Raleigh where, along with the students, we learned more about UNC Charlotte, UNC Wilmington, the College of Wooster, Queens University of Charlotte, Muhlenberg, Elon, Western Carolina, North Carolina Central, the University of Alabama and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Did you know UNC Wilmington has a major in Coastal Engineering or that Western Carolina (along with UNC Pembroke and Elizabeth City State) is a NC Promise institution? A NC Promise school’s in-state tuition is $500 while non-residents pay $2500 per semester.

Our virtual world allows for hours upon hours of accessible college information sessions. I had to step back and limit myself to a reasonable number of hours of “college visits”.

I challenge my students regularly to move beyond their comfort zone and during the height of the pandemic, I stretched myself way beyond my level of comfort. I am one of 14 co-authors of Becoming The Shero, an anthology depicting the journeys of entrepreneurs at different stages of their lives. My story is in the Embracing the Pivot section.

Another way I stay current is through my new position at Providence College. As of August 2020, I am the College Supervisor for the School Counseling Program. What does the college supervisor do? I supervise the students in the program during their 2-semester internship at a school, where they are directly supervised by their Site Supervisor, a certified professional school counselor. It is the student teaching equivalent for school counseling.

Reading is a daily pleasure for me. Here are nine books (not in chronological order) that helped me to educate myself about current events and issues of social justice:

  • Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents ~ Isabel Wilkerson
  • How to Be An Anti-Racist ~ Ibram X. Kendi
  • Stamped From The Beginning ~ Ibram X. Kendi
  • I’m Still Here ~ Austin Channing Brown
  • The Color Of Law ~ Richard Rothstein
  • We Want To Do More Than Survive ~ Bettina Love
  • Down Along With That Devil’s Bones ~ Connor Towne O’Neill
  • Interrupting Racism: Equity and Social Justice in School Counseling ~ Rebecca Atkins & Alicia Oglesby
  • Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race ~ Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D.

To stay up-to-date on trends in college, career and paying for college, see my list of books under the “Parent Resources” tab.

I challenge my students to be lifelong readers. I am practicing what I preach. What are you reading today?

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