The test in question is the SAT I: Reasoning Test, commonly referred to as just the plain old SAT. The modified SAT will be introduced in March 2005. If you will be a high school senior graduating and looking to enter college in 2006, you will take the new exam. If you will be a high school senior graduating and looking to enter college before 2006, you will take the current version of the exam.
The Verbal Section Changes
The first change to the Verbal section is its name. On the new SAT, this section will be called Critical Reading. The second change to the Verbal section is the elimination of the analogy questions. This question type is being eliminated so that this section on the new exam will consist entirely of critical reading questions that will test reading skills at the sentence, paragraph, and passage level. The third change to the Verbal section is the addition of paragraph-length critical reasoning questions, to supplement the existing question types of sentence completions and reading comprehension passages. The topics of the given texts will represent a wide range of subjects, including science, literature, humanities, and history.
The Math Section Changes
The Math section of the SAT will also change. Algebra II material will be tested on the new exam in order to better align the SAT with the math curriculum being taught in high school classrooms. The second change to the Math section is the elimination of quantitative comparisons. The other two current math question types, 5-choice multiple-choice and student-produced responses, will remain on the exam.
The New Writing Section – Essay
The biggest change to the SAT will be the introduction of a new Writing section. The Writing section will consist of two parts: an essay and a multiple-choice section. Students will be given 25 minutes to respond to a prompt and construct a well-organized essay that effectively addresses the task. The essay question may require students to complete a statement, to react to a quote or an excerpt, or to agree or disagree with a point of view. In any case, a good essay will support the chosen position with specific reasons and examples from literature, history, art, science, current affairs, or even a student’s own experiences.
Essays will be scored based on the procedures for the current SAT II: Writing Test. Essays will be graded by two independent readers on a scale of 1 – 6, and their two scores will be combined to form an essay subscore that ranges from 2 to 12. Should the readers’ scores vary by more than 2 points, a third reader will score the essay. The readers will be high school teachers and college professors who teach composition. To ensure that essays will be scored in a timely manner, they will be scanned and made available to readers on the Internet for grading purposes.
The New Writing Section – Multiple-Choice
The Writing section will also include multiple-choice grammar and usage questions. Some of these questions will call upon students to improve given sentences and paragraphs. Others will present students with sentences and require them to identify mistakes in diction, grammar, sentence construction, subject-verb agreement, proper word usage, and wordiness.
The highest possible score on the new Writing section will be 800. Scores on the essay and multiple-choice section will be combined to produce a single score. A writing subscore will also be assigned. The highest possible scores on the Critical Reading and Math sections will remain 800 each, making 2400 a perfect score on the new SAT.