The SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) is one of the two standardized tests (along with the American College Testing (ACT)) for college admissions in the United States. It measures students’ preparedness for colleges and universities by testing the critical thinking skills that are essential for success after high school. The test is owned, developed and published by the College Board. It is administered and scored by Educational Training Systems. A testing session lasts 3 hours (plus 50 minutes for the optional Essay) and costs $43 ($54.50 for the SAT with Essay).
The role an applicant’s SAT score plays in his or her candidacy to a college or university varies between institutions. While it is the preferred standardized test of most colleges on the East and West coasts, the ACT is more widely accepted in the Midwest and South. Some colleges require neither, opting to evaluate candidacy solely on the basis of high school coursework, GPA, extracurricular experiences, writing samples and recommendations. Because of variance across high schools resulting from differences in curriculum, grading and rigor, standardized tests like the SAT and ACT provide admissions boards with a comparable element for the applicant pool.
Test is now available in either a paper or digital formal. The digital format will have limited availability at first. The College Board rolled out practice digital SAT exams in December of 2017, in some school districts, and said that fully operational digital versions would be available for students to take in Spring 2018. They noted that there would only be a slight increase in the number of students taking the digital version of the exam over the paper version, but couldn’t provide an estimate. An online option can make it easier to provide accommodations for students with special needs, and might eventually “shorten the turnaround time” for getting scores back, she said. Students can use school-owned laptops, desktops or Chromebooks. But there are no plans to do away with the paper version.
The electronic option remains a very new option for students in the US. But by the end of 2018 it will become the only option for students abroad. This year, both the SAT and ACT will be offered solely through computers to those taking the test outside the States, signaling that the US adoption isn't far off.
There’s also talk that the online test might one day become adaptive. Adaptive tests adjust the level of questioning according to how the test taker performs on prior questions, so that low scorers are asked fewer of the hardest questions and high scorers don’t need to waste as much time on easy ones. That kind of test can provide a more detailed picture of what students have mastered. It also means test takers get different questions in a different order from one another and from previous exams that may have been leaked or stolen.
|Section||# Of Questions||Time Allowed||Details||Score Range|
|SAT Evidence-Based Reading & Writing||96||100 minutes||Reading (52 questions), Writing & Language (44 questions)||200-800|
|SAT Math||58||80 minutes||Multiple Choice (45 questions), Grid-in (13 questions)||200-800|
|SAT Optional Essay||1||50 minutes||Optional Only||6-24|
Test Sections and Time:
1. The College Board has listed 41 specific skills that the new math test will assess. Fifteen percent of the math questions will have a hard science theme, and 15 percent will have a social studies theme.
2. The name of critical reading and writing will be changed to evidence based reading and writing: The section will include graphs and tables for science and social studies passages.
3. There will be a no calculator section that is worth 1/3 of the math score. The test places an emphasis on students’ ability to identify when a calculator is an effective tool. The calculator section will include “questions in which the calculator could be a deterrent to expedience, thus assessing appropriate use of tools.”
4. More Varied Text: The reading passages will come from a variety of academic disciplines including science, history, social studies, and literature.
5. Less Obscure Vocabulary: Words will now be "relevant in context" and are ones that are widely used in college and professional life.
6. Students will know passages ahead of time that will be from a founding document in american history or from a text that is part of the "great global conversation".
Area Scores: Will report two area scores:
1) Evidence Based Reading and Writing: will equal the sum of the Reading Test score and the Writing and Language Test Score 2) Math: Will be the math test score Each of the two scores will be reported on a scale ranging from 200 to 800. Scores for the essay will be reported separately and not be factored into area scores.
Test Scores: The SAT will report three test scores, on a scale from 10 to 40.
1) Reading Test Score 2) Writing and Language Test Score 3) Math Test Score The Essay will be reported separately. Current plans call for the Essay to report three scores, a decision that will be reassessed pending the outcome of further research.
Cross-Test Scores: The SAT will also report two cross-test scores:
1) Analysis in History/Social Studies 2) Analysis in Science Each of these scores will be reported on a 10-40 scale. These scores are based on selected questions in the SAT Reading, Writing and Language, and Math Tests and will reflect the application of reading, writing, language, and math skills in history/social studies and science contexts
The SAT will report multiple scores for Reading, Writing and Language, and Math. Reading and Writing and Language Tests will contribute questions to two subscores:
The Writing and Language Test will report two additional subscores:
Math Test will report three subscores:
Total: seven subscores. Each on a scale ranging from 1 to 15.
The College Board will release official practice materials for the new SAT in the spring of 2015.
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