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The SAT Will Stop Penalizing You for Wrong Guesses, Return to 1600-Point Scale

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In the spring of 2016, the SAT is going to look quite a bit different.

The College Board, the private nonprofit who administers the standardized test that many colleges and universities factor into admissions, will make a handful of significant changes to make it “more focused and useful than ever before.” it seems that the announced changes come in response to the waining influence the longstanding entrance test has in admissions, as more and more colleges go “test optional.” Of course, critics of the SAT have been saying for years that high school grades and other factors are a much better indicator of college success than any standardized test.

First off, the test is returning to the 400-1600 point scale that many of us are used to. In 2005, the SAT adopted a system wherein a perfect score was a 2400.

But most notably, at least in my opinion, is the decision to stop penalizing test takers for wrong answers. You know what that means, kiddos-guess away!

“The redesigned SAT will remove the penalty for wrong answers. Students will earn points for the questions they answer correctly. This move to rights-only scoring encourages students to give the best answer they have to every problem,” says The College Board.

The new SAT will also feature an optional essay, although some colleges may require it. “The essay prompt will be shared in advance and remain consistent. Only the source material (passage) will change,” says The College Board.

These are the flashy changes, but there are also some deeper shifts in the content itself.

“The redesigned SAT will ask students to apply a deep understanding of the few things shown by current research to matter most for college readiness and success. They’ll find questions modeled on the work of the best classroom teachers and perform tasks practiced in rigorous course work,” they say.

In practice, this means that the new SAT will focus more on the real world–questions that would reflect true college and career issues.

Oh, and one last thing. Remember all of those nights spent studying flashcards covered with obscure words you didn’t know and knew you’d never use? Gone. Seventeen and 18-year-olds of the future will see a test focused on “relevant word.”

“Requiring students to master relevant vocabulary will change the way they prepare for the exam. No longer will students use flashcards to memorize obscure words, only to forget them the minute they put their test pencils down. The redesigned SAT will engage students in close reading and honor the best work of the classroom.”

Easier? More real-world relevance? What do you think?

Image via The College Board, Facebook

The SAT Will Stop Penalizing You for Wrong Guesses, Return to 1600-Point Scale
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