The New SAT and What It Means for Your School

alist-experts-in-college-readiness2 With Wednesday’s announcement of the forthcoming changes to the SAT, many schools might be confused about what this means for their students. We want to assure you that we at A-List are well prepared for the transition. Here are a few important points to keep in mind in the coming months:

  1. The changes to the SAT will not go into effect until Spring 2016. The first class to take this test will be the class of 2017, current freshmen. For the rest of 2014 and all of 2015, the test will remain unchanged. For current sophomores and juniors, you can continue to do any SAT preparation you are already doing.
  2. The College Board highlighted some major changes in their presentation on Wednesday, summarized on their website at https://www.collegeboard.org/delivering-opportunity/sat/redesign. Major changes include:
    • Reading and Writing will be combined into one section called Evidence-Based Reading and Writing
    • As a result, scores will revert from the 600-2400 scale to the 400-1600 scale
    • The essay will be its own section and will be optional.
    • The content of the test will be redesigned to focus on skills that are acquired in high school and used in college and beyond.
  3. More specific details about the new format as well as sample questions will be made available on April 16.
  4. Based on what information has already been released, A-List is well positioned to adapt to the new test. Many of the changes in focus, such as finding evidence to support your answer on reading passage questions, are things that we’ve already been doing with our students.
  5. In addition, A-List’s new assessment platform scheduled for release by July 15th, will allow for online testing and will be modified to match the new SAT format as details are publicly disclosed by the College Board.
  6. Our work with the Common Core and the ACT provides us with strong foundations for the new test, as the College Board has indicated that in format and substance the exam will integrate components and formats reflecting CCSS and the ACT.
  7. Remember that the ACT is not changing. If your school or your students are preparing for the ACT, this news does not affect you at all.
  8. If your school is currently focused on the SAT, you may consider taking this opportunity to transition to the ACT instead. The ACT is a known test: besides the addition of the optional essay in 2005, the ACT has not changed since 1989. And the ACT is just as widely accepted by colleges as the SAT is. Rather than adapting your program to an unknown entity of the new SAT, your students may prefer using the well-established ACT.

Despite the public focus on these recently announced changes, quality instruction, targeted skills development and strong materials and assessments remain critical to helping our students succeed. A-List will be with you every step of the way and we look forward to providing more context and information as details emerge.