One reason is the ACT is becoming more popular. Also, the SAT is considered to predict college success with less accuracy than high school grades, and the SAT has been less and less connected to what is being studied by students in high school.
Another reason for the change is to reign in the test prep industry. There is a perceived inequality among students taking the exam. Those who can afford test prep may have an edge over those who cannot afford test prep courses. There will be more emphasis, for this reason, on making the test less about strategy and more about knowledge. For example, instead of guessing a correct answer, students will be asked to find the text in a reading passage that supports the correct answer.
Other changes in the SAT include
• No more rare vocabulary but words that are more likely used in college courses in high school
• A math focus on linear equations, functions, and proportional thinking
• No deduction for incorrect answers (guess penalty)
• Changes in reading passages such as including at least one passage from the founding documents such as the Declaration of Independence and passages covering a wider range of disciplines
• Optional essay, and one which will analyze a source document to emphasize correctness over opinion
• Finally, the test will be scored on the old 1600 point scale (800 for math and 800 for “evidence-based reading and writing”), and the essay will be scored separately.
Other changes will be included as well. One thing is there will be a new collaboration between the SAT developers and Khan Academy to offer free online instruction videos and practice problems. Also, low-income students will now be able to apply to four colleges for free.
When does this all happen? Spring 2016!
Here’s a summary of the top 10 changes presented in visual form: