CollegeBoard changes SAT

When an ASL student makes the decision to apply to an American university, it comes with the requirements of standardized and subject test scores for most schools. The CollegeBoard announced on March 5 that the current SAT exam will be changed in Spring 2016 to better reflect what students are learning in school, the news was met with both positive and negative feedback

Director of Academic Advising and College Counseling Patty Strohm sees the changes being made, while in her opinion not necessarily extensive, as a constructive decision. “It is my hope that if it is more closely aligned with the high school curriculum that the test will not require students to lead parallel lives. I’m very discouraged by the amount of time, effort, and dedication, that students take to master the [current SAT] test,” she said.

Along with the new model of the test being more centered on what is learned in the classroom, the scoring of the test will be changed as well. Currently, the SAT exam scores out of 2400, while the new test will return to the previous 1600 scale.

The CollegeBoard is now including extensive online SAT tutoring through Khan Academy, which is available to all students with the hope that it will create more equal test scores among all economic classes. More changes have also been listed on, including making the essay portion of the test optional, and students will not lose points as a penalty on the test portion of the SAT if they choose the wrong answer.

Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Roberto d’Erizans believes that Khan Academy “has always been about addressing inequity because they provide a lot of lessons online that anyone can access for free,” he said.

However, while d’Erizans is hopeful that this will bridge the gap in test scores, he does see SAT preparation as being “a business in itself.”

Because the SAT has not been updated recently, d’Erizans sees the CollegeBoard’s announcement as being valuable because school curriculum is constantly being revised. “I’m very hopeful, I think that change is good. If they’re going to be truly responsive to current research then fantastic,” he said.

d’Erizans also sees the new SAT model as being beneficial for students if it’s more aligned with what they are learning in school. “If students can really understand better what is asked of them in data assessment then I’m all for it,” he said.

Emma Kollek (’15), who took the SAT this year, has experience with taking newly-changed standardized tests for the first time. This is due to the adjustments made to the AP Chemistry test this year. “I think it’s always hard [for any standardized test] when they change things, just because [for] the people who take it the first year, it’s a bit unexpected for them,” she said.

While the ACT is based on material students learn in their classrooms, which the SAT will be moving toward, Kollek still believes it’s beneficial for students to be able to choose between the two tests. “I think it’s always nice to have a choice because then you can tailor it to what you’re good at and what you want to do,” she said.

Strohm hopes that with the SAT changes students will, “Go into it [the test] with more confidence,” she said. “I’m in favor of anything that will pull students back to classroom learning and keep distractions at a minimum.”