Speaking with the New York Times, David Coleman, president of the College Board, had some sharp criticisms for the $51 test his organization administers: He admits that the SATs have “become disconnected from the work of our high schools,” filling college-bound 11th graders with “unproductive anxiety.”
That’s why, he says, the SATs are about to get a major overhaul.
Starting in 2016, the SATs will revert back to the 1,600 scale, instead of the 2,400 model introduced in 2005. The essay portion of the three-hour-plus test will now be optional; math will focus on linear equations and functions; and, according to the Times, the SAT’s “rarefied vocabulary words will be replaced by words that are common in college courses, such as ’empirical’ and ‘synthesis.'” All of which is resplendent (adj. “attractive and impressive“) news for high school freshmen.
For a long time, the big knock against the SATs was that the test is an imprecise predictor of college success–unlike, say, GPA. In more recent years, its popularity has waned, only to be surpassed by its chief rival, the ACT, which has deviated less from what is actually taught to students in high school classrooms. Its relevance has faltered, as many colleges now require applicants to provide a host of additional qualifications, including extracurricular activities, volunteer work, and personal essays.
The changes to the test apparently can’t come soon enough, either: According to Coleman, just 20% of teachers think the SATs provide an accurate reflection of a student’s body of work in the classroom.