Key shifts of the SAT redesign
The College Board announced a significant overhaul of the SAT college admission test on Wednesday, changes that will affect current high school freshmen who plan to take the test as juniors in two years. The following chart compares the current SAT to the redesigned SAT. Sample questions and test examples for the new test have not yet been released.
Current SATReading and writing sections do not require students to cite evidence. Students select answers to demonstrate their understanding of texts but are not asked to support their answers.
Redesigned SATEvidence-based reading and writing. Students will support answers with evidence, including questions that require them to cite a specific part of a passage to support their answer choice.
CurrentSource documents do not represent a wide range of academic disciplines. While many different types of text might appear on any SAT, there is no requirement that students encounter scientific or historical sources
RedesignedSource documents originate from a wide range of academic disciplines. On every SAT, students will encounter source texts from science, history, and social studies, analyzing them the way they would in those classes.
CurrentVocabulary focused on words that are sometimes obscure and not widely used in college and career. These words, while interesting and useful in specific instances, often lack broad utility in varied discipines and contexts.
RedesignedVocabulary focused on words that are widely used in college and career. The exam will focus on words such as synthesis and empirical, whose specific meaning depends on the context.
CurrentThe essay measures students' ability to construct an argument based on their background and experiences. Since students are not given source material, there is no way to verify the accuracy of their argument or examples.
RedesignedThe essay measures students' ability to analyze evidence and explain how an author builds an argument to persuade an audience. Responses will be evaluated based on the strength of the analysis as well as the coherence of the writing.
CurrentMath section samples content from a wide range of high school-level math. There are often only one or two questions on each topic and students need to cover a great deal of math to be prepared for all topics.
RedesignedMath section draws from fewer topics that evidence shows most contribute to student readiness for college and career training. Students can study these core math areas in depth and have confidence that they will be assessed.
CurrentCalculator permitted for full math section. It is difficult to assess students' sense of numbers, their fluency in calculation, and their ability to understand concepts than plub in the answers.
RedesignedCalculator permitted on certain portions of the math section. The calculator can be used where most appropriate, but the no-calculator section allows greater assessment of students' understanding, fluency and technique.
CurrentReading and writing does not require data analysis. The reading and writing section does not often include passages from science and social studies with graphs and tables; questions rarely require students to both read text and analyze data.
RedesignedStudents asked to analyze both text and data in real world contexts, including identifying and correcting inconsistencies between the two. Students will show the work they do throughout their classes by reading science articles and historical and social studies courses.
CurrentSource documents drawn from texts that are not widely recognized and publicly available. Students have no idea before they take the test what the reading passages will be about.
RedesignedEach exam will include a passage drawn from the Founding Documents or the Great Global Conversation. Students read from either a founding document such as the Declaration of Independence or from the conversation they inspire in the United States and around the world, such as Lincoln's Gettysburg Address or Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a Dream" speech.
CurrentScoring deducts points for incorrect answers. Students get 1/4 point deducted for incorrect answers; no points deducted for omitted answers.
RedesignedScoring does not deduct points for incorrect answers (rights-only scoring). Students are encouraged to select the best answer to every question.
CurrentEssay is required.
RedesignedEssay is optional.
CurrentScore scale of 2400.
RedesignedScore scale of 1600 with separate score for Essay.
CurrentSAT available on paper only.
RedesignedSAT available in paper and digital forms.
SOURCE: The College Board.