Current SAT vs. Redesigned SAT

New SAT vs Old SAT

Current SAT vs. Redesigned SAT

A few weeks ago, I was invited to speak at the Huntington Learning Center in Huntersville, N.C..  I am very familiar with Huntington Learning Center, because many of my students have used HLC in Huntersville and in Charlotte to increase their SAT and ACT test scores.  It was a pleasure to speak to so many families at HLC about selecting, applying, and paying for college.  I was also asked a lot of questions about the new SAT test, so I wanted to research and find out more about the new SAT test as well.  Jackie Pace, Executive Director of the Huntington Learning Center, was kind of enough  to forward me the article below written by the Huntington Learning Center.  You can read the article here.

What happened?

On March 5, 2014, the College Board officially announced that it would be redesigning the SAT. On April 16, 2014, it released the exam’s 211-page blueprint. The College Board said that the format is not yet final and that it is still working on the question types and scoring breakdowns.

If you plan to prep for the Redesigned SAT, call Huntington. We have the most up-to-date curricula, practice tests and other resources for you.

What are your test options?

Class of 2015: Class of 2016: Class of 2017: Class of 2018:
Bottom line:
If you are a senior during the 2014–15 school year, you are not affected by the changes.
Bottom line:
If you are a junior during the 2014–2015 school year, the current SAT is available only through January 2016 of your senior year.
Bottom line:
If you are a sophomore during the 2014–15 school year, the current SAT will be continually changing as you are planning to take it.
Bottom line:
If you are a freshman during the 2014–15 school year, the current SAT will be continually changing as you are planning to take it.
Recommendation:
Both the current SAT and the ACT are available. Prep now and take either the SAT or ACT.
Recommendation:
Take the SAT during your junior year and before January 2016. If that is not possible, then only prep for and take the ACT.
Recommendation:
Take the ACT during your junior year, since the SAT will be continually changing, making it difficult to prep for it.
Recommendation:
Take the ACT during your junior year, since the SAT will be continually changing, making it difficult to prep for it.
Your choices are:

Your choices are:

*During your senior year, if you take the SAT between March and June 2016, you will take the Redesigned SAT.

You will take:

Your choices are:

You will take:

Your choices are:

Current SAT vs. Redesigned SAT

 

Current SAT Redesigned SAT
Total time
  • 3 hours, 45 minutes
  • 3 hours
    (plus 50 minutes with optional Essay section)
Overall scores
  • Scaled score range: 600-2400
  • Scaled score range: 400-1600
Scoring rules
  • Earn 1 point for correct answers
  • Lose ¼ point for each incorrect answer
  • No loss or gain for omitted answers
“Rights-only” scoring:

  • Earn points for correct answers
  • No penalty for incorrect answers
Sections
  • Critical Reading
  • Writing
  • Math
  • Essay (required)
Evidence-based Reading and Writing:

  • Reading
  • Writing and Language

Math:

  • Calculator section
  • No-calculator section
Key focus of each area: Critical Reading

  • Challenges students to demonstrate general reading comprehension skills, and tests ability to recognize the meaning of obscure vocabulary in reading passages (and out of context) in sentence completions.

Writing

  • Tests students on grammar rules and their ability to identify proper sentence, paragraph and passage structure.

Math

  • Tests students’ math knowledge in Arithmetic, Algebra I and Geometry.
  • Allows the use of calculators for all math questions.
Reading

  • All content is passage-based.
  • Tests students’ ability to read and comprehend literary and informational text.
  • Places strong emphasis on students’ ability to understand vocabulary in context, focusing on more commonly used words, with emphasis placed on the author’s word choices and how word choice influences a reader.
  • Includes graphs, charts and tables to test students’ ability to recognize and identify the relationship between data and text provided.

Writing and Language

  • All content is passage-based.
  • Places strong emphasis on vocabulary in context and on understanding how specific vocabulary impacts the reader while making an author’s point.
  • Focuses on ability to revise and edit a variety of texts.
  • Tests ability to recognize whether information presented in graphs, charts or tables links accurately to the text provided.

Math

  • Tests math knowledge in Arithmetic, Algebra I, Algebra II and Geometry, with exposure to higher level mathematics such as complex numbers and trigonometry.
  • Tests students’ ability to reference information found in graphs, charts or tables while solving problems presented in real-world scenarios.
  • Contains a no-calculator section to test students’ ability to think critically and use computational skills to perform various math tasks.
Essay
  • Required
  • Total time: 25 minutes
  • Presents a prompt, requiring that students develop a persuasive argument for or against the statement.
  • Optional
  • Total time: 50 minutes
  • Requires that the student read and analyze source text and assesses whether the student can write a well-developed analysis of the text, taking into account the author’s style, word choices, claims and the evidence provided.
Other key changes: History/Social Studies and Science:

  • Exposes students to passages in history/social studies and science in all sections (Reading Test, Writing and Language Test and Math Test).

Math:

  • Challenges students with one extended-thinking question on the Math test, requiring that students demonstrate the ability to solve this complex multiple-step math problem.

College and career readiness:

  • Assesses the key areas deemed necessary for success in college and students’ careers.

Differences between the current SAT and ACT

 

Current SAT ACT
Type of test
  • Assessment: Tests aptitude, focusing on students’ verbal and reasoning skills.
  • Achievement: Tests students’ academic achievement, focusing on the application of skills that the student has learned in school.
Focus
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Math conceptualization
  • Reading ability
  • Grammar rules and persuasive writing skills
  • Reading comprehension
  • Knowledge of high school core curriculum
Subjects/sections
  • Critical Reading (3 sections)
  • Math (3 sections)
  • Writing (2 sections)
  • Essay (1 section) – required
  • English (1 section)
  • Mathematics (1 section)
  • Reading (1 section)
  • Science (1 section)
  • Essay (1 section) – optional
Highest level
of math tested
  • Algebra II (graphing functions)
  • Trigonometry
Vocabulary
  • Tests students’ knowledge of obscure words, often provided out of context.
  • Tests students’ knowledge of vocabulary in the context of reading passages.
  • Tests students’ understanding of the significance of an author’s choice of words in the English section.
Question difficulty
  • Predictable order of difficulty
  • Random order of difficulty
Trap questions
  • Provides most commonly made mistakes within the answer choices as a way to “trap” students into answering incorrectly.
  • Straightforward presentation of questions and answers.
  • Has very few traps in the answer choices.
Scoring rules
  • Penalized for incorrect answers – lose ¼ point for each incorrect response.
  • No penalty – gain 1 point for each correct answer
Question types
  • Critical Reading – Multiple choice
  • Writing – Multiple choice
  • Math – Multiple choice and student-produced responses
  • All sections – Multiple choice
Score submission
  • Submit only the scores you choose when applying to colleges
  • Submit only the scores you choose when applying to colleges
Accepted by
four-year universities
  • Yes*
  • Yes*

 

*Verify all admissions requirements through the Admissions Department for each of your college choices.

Differences Between the Current PSAT/NMSQT and the Redesigned PSAT/NMSQT

 

Current PSAT/NMSQT Redesigned PSAT/NMSQT
Total time
  • 2 hours, 10 minutes
  • 2 hours, 45 minutes
Overall scores
  • Scaled score range: 60-240
  • Scaled score range: 400-1600
Scoring rules
  • Earn 1 point for correct answers
  • Lose ¼ point for each incorrect answer
  • No loss or gain for omitted answers
“Rights-only” scoring:

  • Earn points for correct answers
  • No penalty for incorrect answers
Sections
  • Critical Reading
  • Writing
  • Math
Evidence-based Reading and Writing

  • Reading Test
  • Writing and Language Test

Math

  • Calculator section
  • No-calculator section
Key focus of each area: Critical Reading

  • Challenges students to demonstrate ability to recognize the meaning of obscure vocabulary in reading passages (and out of context) in sentence completions.
  • Challenges students to demonstrate general reading comprehension skills to answer multiple-choice questions.

Writing

  • Tests students on grammar rules and their ability to identify proper sentence, paragraph and passage structure.

Math

  • Tests students’ math knowledge in arithmetic, Algebra I and Geometry.
  • Allows the use of calculators for all math questions.
Reading

  • All content will be passage-based.
  • Tests students ability to read and comprehend literary and informational text.
  • Places strong emphasis on students’ ability to recognize vocabulary in context, focusing on more commonly used words, with emphasis placed on how the author’s word choices and how word choice influences a reader.
  • Includes graphs, charts and tables.

Writing and Language

  • All content is passage-based.
  • Places strong emphasis on vocabulary in context and on understanding how specific vocabulary impacts the reader while making an author’s point.
  • Focuses on ability to revise and edit a variety of texts.
  • Tests ability to recognize whether information presented in graphs, charts or tables links accurately to the text provided.

Math

  • Tests math knowledge in Arithmetic, Algebra I, Algebra II and Geometry, with exposure to higher level mathematics such as complex numbers and trigonometry.
  • Tests students’ ability to reference information found in graphs, charts or tables while solving problems presented in real-world scenarios.
  • Contains a no-calculator section to test students’ ability to use computational skills to perform various math tasks.
Other key changes: History/Social Studies and Science:

  • Exposes students to passages in history/social studies and science in all sections (Reading Test, Writing and Language Test and Math Test).

Extended-thinking question:

  • Challenges students with one extended-thinking question located on the Math test, requiring that they demonstrate the ability to solve this complex multiple-step math problem.

The Redesigned SAT and College Readiness

The Redesigned SAT places a greater emphasis on the knowledge and skills most essential for college and career readiness. Also, the College Board says that today’s college-bound students must possess “knowledge, skills and understandings needed to complete postsecondary work successfully, to open doors of opportunity for themselves, and to keep those doors open throughout their lives.” Skills such as reasoning, analyzing data, interpreting and critical thinking will be expected of all students taking the redesigned exam.

Learn more about career readiness and the Redesigned SAT.

What’s Next?

The first administration of the Redesigned SAT is scheduled for March 2016. Huntington will continue to stay up-to-date about the Redesigned SAT’s changing format and structure, and we will update our curricula and instructional materials to reflect these changes. Learn more detailed information about the key components of the Redesigned SAT.

You can rely on Huntington programs to prep your student for the current SAT and the Redesigned SAT.

Thank you to Jacking Pace and Huntington for sharing this information about the redesigned SAT.

Ryan Clark, Author, MBA, CCPS

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