1600 is the top score on the SAT again.

March 7, 2014

Yesterday the College Board announced a “do-over.”

Like any fashion trend, if you wait long enough you’ll see it again. If you felt as frustrated that the top score changed to “2400” in 2005 as I did when skinny jeans appeared, then you’ll now have something to celebrate.  (I, on the other hand, will have to wait for a little while until those skinny jeans find their way to the great beyond.)

Thanks to competition from the ACT, which more high school students took last year than the SAT, helpful changes are coming.  The College Board is making this test a little more relevant to measure achievement rather than intelligence (or what a student knew that day).

What does it really mean?

Although there are many great schools that are now test-optional, this recent announcement by the College Board does not mean that your sophomores will not have to take the SAT. It means that their experience with the test will be very different in some ways and that their final exam score will look more like what you remember. The top score will once again be 1600.

I am intrigued that the College Board will partner with Khan Academy to make test prep more widely available; however, I remain cautious about what this means in practice rather than just in theory.

In 2015:

PSAT (the “P” stands for practice) will drop the penalty for guessing incorrectly.

In 2016, here are a few features of the “new” SAT:

No more obtuse words like mendacious and pugnacious.

Calculators will only be allowed in certain sections.

As you can see from the examples below, this is not the first change that the College Board has made to the SAT over the years.  Like any business in order to stay relevant it needs to adjust to its clients’ needs.  (Shall I detail how many times the name of the SAT has changed?)

In 2009:

“Superscoring” appeared: a rule change giving students the ability to send their best SAT scores to the schools to which they were applying.  (Not all institutions currently allow students to choose which scores they receive.)

In 2005:

The “essay” section materialized, which was distinct from both the verbal and the mathematics section and had a separate score.

In 1994:

Analogies were dropped.  I actually liked to memorize words on flashcards (remember those).

Calculators were allowed for the first time.

As a busy parent, it is important to keep up with the trends.  Some students do better on the SAT (“a marathon”) and others do better on the ACT (“a sprint”). And some don’t like to run at all (test-optional). Please always remember that expert advice can make a big difference regardless of what changes the College Board makes to the SAT in the near future. If this information has been helpful to you, please share it and learn more about me at www.wheresuccessblooms.com.