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Will the SAT Have to Change Again?

The College Board made waves when it announced the most substantial SAT revisions since 2005. The overhaul marks the organization’s response to criticisms of the test and increasing calls for accurate measures of college- and career-readiness. It comes at a time when a set of national K-12 standards with a similar goal is facing backlash in some states and communities.

Among the revisions is the elimination of the third writing portion, which was added 9 years ago to the math and reading sections, and increased the full SAT score to 2400. The new version of the college entrance exam will instead include an optional essay section and bring back the 1600-point scale. The new SAT will also pull back on the exam’s infamous testing of tough vocabulary in favor of “words that are widely used in college and career.” Fewer math sections of the exam will permit calculator use, and students will no longer be penalized a quarter point for incorrect answers in an effort to eliminate the use of guess-based testing strategies sold by private test-prep companies.

College Board leaders say the latest move is an effort to more precisely predict college- and career-readiness, also the tagline for the Common Core — a set of K-12 standards aimed at creating a common set of expectations for students across the country, but is adopted and implemented by individual states. So far, 45 states and Washington, D.C. have adopted the new standards.

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