Friday, June 6, 2014

SAT and ACT Announcing Major Changes

In March, the College Board announced plans to redesign the SAT in light of the Common Core.  This month ACT, Inc. announced that it would be enhancing the ACT test also.

Changes for the SAT starting in the Spring of 2016 include "substantive shifts aimed at making the exam more 'focused' and 'useful,' including an emphasis on having students justify their answers with textual evidence, shunning 'obscure' SAT words, making the essay optional, and covering fewer math topics but in greater depth."

Also, the SAT will no longer penalize students for wrong answers; instead only providing a score based on the number of correct responses.  This will remove one of the main differences between the ACT and the SAT in terms of scoring; as the ACT does not penalize students for wrong answers either.

For more details on the SAT changes, click here.

The ACT results will be changing in the Spring of 2015 to include indicators of career readiness and information on test takers' ability to understand complex tests.

The writing test will be split into four sub-scores:

  • ideas and analysis
  • development and support
  • organization
  • language use
The career-readiness indicator will be linked to ACT's National Career Readiness Certificate; based on their WorkKeys job skills assessment system.  


Based on research indicating that students' ability to comprehend complex pieces of writing is a key predictor of college and career success, student results will include a "text complexity progress indicator," as well.

Because of the increased focus on STEM education and careers, ACT will also combine the math and science scores to produce a STEM score, as well as an English/language arts score based on the combined English, reading, and writing scores.

For more details on the ACT changes, click here.

Also of significance is the fact that both tests will also begin being offered in electronic format rather than strictly on paper; allowing students the option of taking these exams on computers in much the same format as they are used to for state assessments and other tests.

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