This piece was published in the December 2015 issue of the Prep News and was written by John Godfrey
Recently, the ACT and SAT have both undergone significant changes. Material and preparation have been respectively updated in continued accordance with the goals of a constantly modernizing national curricula.
The ACT has made several changes to the test, but the College Board claims it is weary of making radical changes. “We know the ACT has significant impact on people’s lives. Because of this, we work hard to avoid unnecessary risks that might come with large-scale changes or total product reinvention,” the College Board stated on its website.
Some minor enhancements, however, will come in the form of accessibility. The College Board has broadened its connection, as registration deadlines and test dates will be better communicated through cell phones and email in lieu of a simple ACT student account alert. High school counselors across the country will also be contacted by the College Board, who will ask teachers to remind students of test dates and preparation for the test itself.
The SAT in 2016 will see more significant change than that of the ACT. Along with the new scoring of the test—out of 1600 as opposed to 2400—the changes mainly align with a re-focusing of skills colleges value.
For example, the math section will test for deeper understanding, as some parts of the section prohibit the use of a calculator. The reading section will ask not only for understanding of the given passages, but will also ask students to draw conclusions based on textual evidence and sometimes even beyond the given text. The writing section, while maintaining its testing of grammatical skills, will now focus on argumentative skills as well. The optional essay will follow the same pattern, now less persuasive and more evidence-based in its formulation.
Ultimately, the changes made by both the ACT and the SAT are being made in order to give students a score based on a wider range of applicable skills according to the College Board