The new 2016 SAT tests will be changed as the following. (2015-03-31 오후 2:31:52)
Changes to the SAT I scheduled for 2016 announced:
Link to an article summarizing the coming changes to SAT I: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/06/education/major-changes-in-sat-announced-by-college-board.html?_r=1
Link to a TIME magazine Opinion/Editorial article on the coming changes to SAT I: http://time.com/15199/college-president-sat-is-part-hoax-and-part-fraud/
David Coleman, President of College Board, on March 5, 2014 announced the coming 2016 changes to the SAT I in a webcast.
Just the announced points in short:
* There will be no guessing penalty
* The SAT Writing test will be separated from the Reading Comprehension and Math sections, which will be scored on a 1600 point scale. This implies that the writing section essay, which is announced to be optional, will be scored separately and be in an optional section with the SAT I grammar multiple choice sections of the test, which will be scored the probably on its separate 800 point scale. This wasn’t very clear in the original announcement.
* The essay prompt will itself be something like the integrated writing task in the TOEFL test, in that it will have a reading segment, and the test taker will be required to write a logically reasoned essay with good essay writing skills.
* The vocabulary will be more utilitarian based, words that may appear in an actual academic writing or periodical, rather than the obscure words that may only show up on vocabulary lists.
* The reading comprehension passages will be less obscure in content or subject and be from academic subjects in school, like history and science.
* The math section will focus on three basic sections, rather than the expansive content it currently has. The New York Times article writes, the “Math questions will focus on three areas: linear equations; complex equations or functions; and ratios, percentages and proportional reasoning.”
* Print and digital versions of the test will be offered.
This has of course been posted just before, but I reproduce it for completeness sake.
The following are five observations I’ve made as ramifications to the changes proposed to the 2016 new SAT I. Where the grammar section will now go, whether the new test will now have to be more tricky to get a good grade distribution given the simpler vocabulary and reading passage correspondence to correct answers, the computer based SAT I test implications, the changes to the SAT I writing test, and the prospect of more students having to take the test at least twice now.
In the two articles that I’ve read, it wasn’t very clear whether the current Grammar Section will be included in the separated optional essay or that the grammar questions will be incorporated somehow into the Critical Reading Section. My guess is that the writing section essay is optional and that section will also have the grammar questions in it, as it was before the 2005 changes to the SAT I. College Board will require a complete retooling of their scoring system and redesign of the Critical Reading Section if the grammar questions are added to the 1600 point section of the test. This, I am guessing, they will not do. At least, that retooling will have required attention in the announcement too. Korean media sources have guessed the other way, and have reported that the grammar questions will be included in the Critical Reading Section of the test. I am sure more information about this will be made available in the days and months to come.
Another interesting point is that the vocabulary will be more restricted to usable and used vocabulary and that the Critical Reading Section will have questions that are directly approved by the reading passage. There will be, in other words, more transparency in the answer being correct and the vocabulary being more reflective of words being used in academia and life today. Well, my opinion is that that’s easier said than done. Ultimately simplifying the vocabulary and making critical reading answers more directly stated in the passage will make the test more difficult to achieve a smooth bell curve in student testing results. The difficult and easy questions will be more difficult to predict as difficult and easy, therefore, when students actually take the test, than when the test was being worded and designed on the drawing board.
The third point is that there will be offered a paper version and the digital version. This would be like the paper-based TOEFL tests offered in some countries and the computer based TOEFL tests in others. However, judging from the changes to the essay test, this change will be more analogous to the GRE test, the Graduate Records Examinations test, also made by ETS, Educational Testing Service, the company which actually designs the SAT I test for College Board. So far, the computer based GRE isn’t offered in the Republic of Korea. I would argue that this is because of the high incidence of cheating on the GRE computer based test in Korea in the past. If you look at the third page of this pdf article, Korea is not included in the testing regions (https://www.ets.org/s/gre/pdf/gre_cbt_dom_intl_rrc_china_etc.pdf). This, of course, is a national shame, but that shame may continue in the 2016 release of the SAT I test: the paper-based new SAT I test may be offered in Korea under some of the limitations specific to Korea and some other countries, as it is now, and the computer based version may only be offered in Japan and some other regions nearby. There was this past week a new case of cheating reported in the Korean newspapers (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/03/116_152719.html). I think it would just be best to report any and all cases of cheating in Korea until it stops and is not a reasonable risk to cheat.
The last point about the essay is that it will require a reading of a short passage and that the essay will require analysis of that article and good writing structure, as per usual. In short, it will be impossible to use historical and current events as outside examples to make a point in the essay. The example is in short given to the writer, so that no other example is needed. This writing method is something I have been teaching for the Korean college entrance essay tests to HUFS (Hankuk University of Foreign Studies), Hanyang University, Choong-Ang University, and formerly to Sogang University. So, basically, instead of the prepared list of historical and literary examples, quotations from the prompt itself will be used with careful selection of what aspects of the prompt to quote. Some reasonably constructed hypothetical examples can also be used, and if you don’t know how to use those, it’s a little difficult to explain in such a short article, but in short, it is a made-up life illustration of a scenario that is referred to or implied by the prompt. For example, if the article is talking about freedom of knowledge in education, we can write about students in high school being restricted in their reading of pro-communist works (as has been done in the past at one point), of works containing profanity or racist slurs (The Catcher in the Rye or Huckleberry Finn), or of works with sexual content (many examples abound, but Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer or D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley's Lover). The argument would then be constructed based on that scenario as the primary evidence. This kind of writing had been in the works in the SAT I since October 2010, when the essay topic, “Is it important for people to spend time outdoors and to learn to appreciate the natural environment?” was given. In this case, the hypothetical example of people in nature learning about the ecosystem of organisms can be used. It is a made up situation, but it’s a very reasonable and likely situation.
The changes therefore are manageable and are not as shocking as they could be. More disturbing, however, is that with combination of Score Choice (see previous wall posts), it would be in the students’ interest to take the SAT I test at least twice, once with the essay and once without the essay test. This would be the case for students who are second language speakers of English or are poor at writing the essay. The SAT I without the essay, probably a higher score for such students, could be used for the universities and colleges ranked below NYU and Tufts, the colleges usually not requiring the essay in ACT tests, the other US college entrance test. The SAT I with the essay, probably a lower score but one that students hope is high, will be used with universities and colleges requiring the SAT I essay. Which test score being sent to whom can be controlled with the Score Choice function of the SAT test (ACT also has such an analogous option). More money revenue from students applying to US colleges from overseas will result. This is of course unfair, but it would be the reasonable thing to do given the new circumstances.
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