The SAT, considered a major metric in gauging the college readiness of high school students, is undergoing some changes leading into the 2015-16 school year. Officials with The College Board, the organization that developed and redesigned the SAT, says it wants to focus on knowledge, skills and understandings rather than narrow, short-term test preparation.
“We really want to make sure that when a student applies and is accepted to a university that they will be successful when they get there,” said Debbie Pennington, senior educational manager for The College Board.
The redesign was meant to address what researchers call a troubling statistic nationwide among students transitioning to college. About 57 percent of SAT takers in 2013 experienced remediation in at least one entry-level course upon entering college that year.
In a national survey, nearly 90 percent of high school teachers said students were leaving high school prepared for college-level mathematics while almost 75 percent of postsecondary instructors said they were not.
Educators at Cy-Fair ISD are targeting the changes in the revamped SAT in their curriculum, said Linda Macias, associate superintendent of curriculum, instruction and accountability.
“We have an SAT prep course and a scholars course where the curriculum is based on preparing students for SAT,” she said. “We are training teachers in that now and introducing the new format and content to the student.”
One of the most noteworthy elements of the change is transparency, Macias said.
“It’s more fair to all students,” she said. “It tests them on content that is more relevant to real life. The math problems focus on more important skills instead of shallow testing of a wider range of skills.”
Macias said the transition to the new SAT should be seamless from the district’s end.
“We are testing more of what our kids are already learning in the classrooms,” she said. “It just lines up more with the curriculum and content that they are already learning. We think the changes are going to be a positive thing for all students.”
District faculty are also encouraging students to take advantage of the preparatory material available on the College Board website. More information on the changes can be found at www.collegeboard.org