The SAT has been criticized by educators as being biased against those from lower income backgrounds. But, the revamped version, which debuts in 2016, is said to be opening the door to those from all walks of life for the first time.
Increasing equity and access is what College Board strived for in redesigning the test. Among the changes, designed to level the playing field, a partnership with Khan Academy, which will offer all students free online SAT preparatory training tailor made for each student.
“It will cause students to move from their current skill set to the next skill set, which would allow them to do really well on the SAT,” said Sonia Dinnall, Director of College and Career Readiness, for Hartford Public Schools.
While schools are happy, what about supplemental education businesses? They say they’re not exactly going to go the way of the dinosaur just because of some free online preparatory courses.
“Khan Academy is just one of them. Other students could prefer to learn on a more personal basis, in the classroom. And, that’s what we’re here for,” said Michelina Kinell, Director of the Sylvan Learning Center franchise in West Hartford.
The vocabulary portion of the examination will also be modified, to include only power words.
“Power words that will allow for students, who are speaking English as a second language, to better access the SAT,”added Dinnall.
“It’s going to be relevant to what the students are learning in the classroom. And, they will be words that they won’t take the test and then forget about them. They’ll continue to use them throughout college and their career, said Erica White, College and Career Counselor at Middletown High School.
Another major change, which mirrors what the ACT already does, is no longer requiring an essay to be taken.
“As a district, I think we would still encourage all of our students to sit for the writing portion, because you don’t know which colleges are going to require it and which ones won’t,” said White.