How I Feel About the Redesigned SAT

Exactly three days before the March SAT, the president of College Board, David Coleman, announced that the SAT is going to being getting a major facelift in 2016. These new changes can make the SAT as popular as the ACT, which is currently triumphing over the SAT.

The new changes (can be found on the College Board's website as the High Level SAT Blueprint):

• Score scale will be 1600 with optional essay scored separately
• Scoring: Rights-only scoring, no penalty for wrong answers
• Format: Print and computer.
• Time: 180 minutes with optional 50-minutes essay
• Math: focused on three key areas
• Heart of Algebra
• Problem Solving and Data Analysis
• Passport to Advanced Math
• Essay: Common prompt applied to different sources
• Essay in which you explain how the author builds an argument to persuade an audience.

• Evidence-based Reading and Writing:
• Command of Evidence
• Relevant words in context
• Analysis of sources and documents

College Board has gone with the redesign of the SAT to ensure an equal opportunity for all students. They have partnered with the leading non-profit educational site, Khan Academy, to offer free online practice problems and instructional videos. But why is this a new focus? A new graph shows that there is a trend between family income and SAT scores. The higher a family's income is the higher the student's success is on the SAT. Those with the higher income can invest in tutoring serving as a huge advantage to help prepare them.

However, the class of 2015 and 2016 still have to take the SAT, currently scored out of 2400 and filled with obscure vocabulary words even with the announcement of the redesigned SAT.

I see some new aspects of the SAT that I'm a fan of and some aspects that I wish they would keep. Being the class of 2015, understanding the SAT is all too familiar for me, which I had just taken it this Saturday. For example, using relevant vocabulary words is my favorite part of the SAT redesign. My summer was spent studying thousands of vocabulary words that I haven't used ever since. It's great to know that College Board is going to be using relevant vocabulary words rather than obscure words that hardly anyone uses outside of the SAT. But much to my dismay, I'm disappointed to see College Board make the essay portion optional. The SAT essay gives an equal playing field to see a student's actual work as opposed to one worked on with a tutor or parent. Perhaps, they can have all students take the essay portion. But instead of scoring it, allow colleges gain access to see it. That way, every student has his/her own original work.

The redesign of the SAT is a new concept for everyone. The general consensus is that the SAT is becoming easier and less agonizing. But it may be too easy. Many of us spent months and even years ahead prepping for this test. This challenge should be required for incoming test-takers too.