The two tests were initially created to measure different things Aptitude Achievement
SAT Origins (IQ tests) Carl Brigham 1920s updated Army Alpha Tests 1923 wrote A Study of American Intelligence 1926 converted Army Alpha into Standard Aptitude Test, under the auspices of the College Board, administered test to 8,040 high school students 1934 Harvard uses SAT to select scholarship recipients Henry Chauncey 1930 Assistant Dean at Harvard 1934 uses SAT to select scholarship recipients 1943 contracts to administer SAT (Army-Navy Qualification Test) to 316,000 high school seniors 1945 Becomes first President of Education Testing Service, ETS 1970 Retires, SAT given to 1.4 million students annually SAT had its foundations in : abstract intelligence and aptitude testing
ACT Origins (Iowa tests) Everett Franklin Lindquist (1901– 1978) Psychology professor, educational researcher at the University of Iowa 1929 Created tests which became the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills 1959 Created the ACT (American College Testing) in Iowa City, Iowa ACT had its foundations in: Iowa standardized public school achievement testing
The ACT is taking over SATACTGap 20051,475,6231,186,251289, ,465,7441,206,455259, ,494,5311,300,599193, ,518,8591,421,94196, ,530,1281,480,46949, ,597,3291,568,83528, ,647,1231,623,11224, ,664,4791,666,209-1, ,660,0471,799, , ,670,000*1,845, ,787 College Board’s School day testing initiative is preventing a more precipitous decline
Why has the ACT dominated? Successful marketing! Focus on achievement versus aptitude The Battle for Common Core alignment Statewide contracts ACT perceived as multi-purpose test, used to measure school performance
Common Core State Standards Initiative ACT has leveraged its superior Common Core alignment to win state-wide contracts across the country. Districts and states are using the ACT as an End of Course Test. Explore Plan ACT pathway Explore Plan ACT pathway
College Board State-wide contracts Pop: 935,614 Pop: 1,634,464 Pop: 1,330,089 Small potatoes! College Board has been largely unsuccessful selling its product state- wide
College Board State-wide contracts Pop: 935,614 Pop: 1,634,464 Pop: 1,330,089 CB did just win Michigan because of a bidding error on the part of ACT Inc., Pop: 9,909,877 First Big Win in Years!
ACT State-Wide Contracts 2001: *Illinois and Colorado 2007: Kentucky, Michigan and Wyoming 2009: North Dakota and Tennessee 2012: North Carolina 2013: Hawaii, Louisiana and Montana 2014: Alabama and Utah 2015: Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada and Wisconsin. *2015 Illinois is shifting ACT funding towards the PARCC Common Core assessments- getting the attention of ACT Inc.!
Common Core State Standards Initiative The writing is on the wall: align with the CCSSI or get out of the game Current ACT is better aligned with Common Core Standards, leading to broader adoption Testing Consortia, PARCC & Smarter Balanced, funded by DOE using Race to the Top money, was tasked with developing CCSSI-aligned assessments: an existential threat to the SAT and ACT
Common Core is smaller, but still highly significant states states
Common Core still central, though under attack 43 US states currently use the Common Core standards 12 states are witnessing political attacks on the Common Core Indiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and South Carolina repealed the Common Core in 2014
South Carolina case study Repealed the Common Core and withdrew from Smarter Balanced testing Decided to follow its own standards and make its own assessments (GA followed suit) Granted the $58.4 million (5-year) contract to assess grades 3-8 to the ACT Inc.!
For these testing behemoths, college assessment is only the tip of the iceberg. The real game is the K-12 assessment piece SAT/ACT K-12
College Board witnessed the new order and knew it had to change Relevance
SAT’s slow and steady march from Aptitude to Achievement Loaded with vocabulary and abstract reasoning Major shift towards achievement 1918 First SAT 1926 Army Alpha Pure IQ Drop Antonyms Add student- response and harder math Drop analogies and quantitative comparisons Add writing Drop Sentence Completions Harder Math Grammar in Context Science Graphs Evidence-based essay All Common Core All the Way …
The Great SAT Overhaul
The SAT nixed the guessing penalty Bring on the Random Guess! No more worries about that pesky quarter point.
And welcomed Science! The new SAT will incorporate tables, charts, and graphs. SAT takers will need to find correlations, plot points, and manipulate data as on the ACT. SAT will incorporate the science items throughout both the verbal and the math sections.
Put grammar in context To conform with the Common Core standards, like the ACT, the SAT is placing all of its writing items in the context of paragraphs The passages on the new SAT Writing will be harder level passages than those found on the ACT.
Made a Common Core math test emphasizing conceptual understanding Less of a focus on heuristics and speed Algebra will be the king of the redesigned SAT Math section. Geometry will be taking a major backseat: going from a whopping 40% of questions on the current SAT to a mere 10% on the redesigned test. Will incorporate most every math topic currently tested by the ACT and not the SAT (from trigonometry and radians to equations of a circle and congruence theorems) Integrates numerous multi-step problems with intensive reading requirements
Took away the calculator on one math section The calculator free math section stresses math fluency and theoretical understanding. These questions are quite challenging. Students will need to learn more math fundamentals and learn how to read and perceive problems differently. The ability to interpret trumps the ability to solve.
Added many concepts from Math 1 and Math 2 subject tests Math 1: trigonometry, complex numbers, irrational numbers, advanced geometry Math 2: inverse functions, radians, more trigonometry (secant, cosecant, cotangent, and laws of sines & cosines), more coordinate geometry and functions Effectively catching up to the ACT in terms of content difficulty, and surpassing it in many areas
Demonstrating how new problems require a deeper understanding of math How long after the second car leaves will it catch up to the first car? A) 17 minutes B) 30 minutes Which of the follow mathematical equations represents the scenario described? A) 3x + 4y – 19 = 230 B) 4x + 3y – 19 = 180 OLD NEW
Made Reading look more like the ACT, but increased the difficulty level Like the ACT, the SAT Reading section will consist of passages from the domains of Science, Literature, and Humanities/Social Studies. SAT will also add ACT Science-style charts, graphs, and figures into the science passages. Textual complexity is way up! The level of difficulty on the science and prose passages is similar to that found on the SAT Literature test, demanding a higher degree of fluency than ever before.
Doubled the timing of the essay, put it at the end, and made it much more analytical and challenging “Your essay should not explain whether you agree with [the author’s] claims, but rather explain how [the author] builds an argument to persuade his audience.” The new essay is an improvement. New scoring rubric grants a max of 4 points for reading, 4 points for analysis, 4 points for writing.
Invoked the “Great Global Conversation” If the December preview questions are an accurate indication of what’s to come, questions drawn from the “Global Conversation” will punish students who lack context into our history and political process.
Allowed more time per question, but many students will need it for the harder question types Seconds Per Question SectionACTCurrent SATNew SAT Grammar Reading Math Science52.5- Even considering the more difficult items on the New SAT, the extra time will help students with slower processing speeds,
Took the ACT approach and reduced the number of sections Essay Critical Reading Math Writing Math Critical Reading Experimental Section Experimental Section Critical Reading Writing Reading Writing and Language Calculator Optional Math No Calculator Math Optional Essay Current SAT New SAT
But essentially maintained the current timing of the SAT, including the essay Reading Writing Math No Calculator Math Optional Essay Essay Reading Math Writing Math Reading Exp. Reading Writing Reading Writing Math Science Optional Essay Current SAT New SAT 3:45 3:00 :50 2:55 :30* 3:25* ACT Testing Time Subject to change 3:50 +5
Dropped the Experimental Section in favor of intermixed experimental items CB announced that some students who opt out of the essay may receive an SAT with 5 sections, with experimental items sprinkled in among all the official “operating” items. The occasional Experimental Item A sea of Operating Items
Returns to the 1600 Scale with subscores “Verbal” “Quantitative” Writing Reading Math Current SAT New SAT Reading Writing Math Science 1600 subscores Subscores will be meaningful for colleges and programs looking for students with particular skill sets
For context: let’s review some sample Items provided on the College Board Web Site https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sample-questions/math/calculator-not-permitted/1 https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sample-questions/reading/1 Math Reading https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sites/default/files/psat_nmsqt_practice_test_1.pdf New PSAT!
PSAT Caveat Tuesday 3/24/2015 the CB released the new PSAT, which appears to be significantly less difficult than the December SAT problem set. This leads us to one of two conclusions: 1)CB realized the December content was too hard and is retrenching to a lower level of difficulty 2)The SAT will be significantly harder than the PSAT In May, once the first SAT is released, we will get a much better sense of the difficulty level of the new SAT.
The New SAT appears to be the hardest SAT in recent memory, significantly more challenging than the ACT With elevated levels of reading and math difficulty, the new SAT may provide quite a challenge for many students. We predict many sophomores will stick with the current SAT, completing testing by January 2016, or migrating to the ACT.
Coleman’s Long Game This bold move by the College Board pays off if and only if colleges perceive the SAT as a more predictive assessment, or high schools perceive it as a yardstick for their students’ academic performance. The SAT will likely lose many students in its inaugural year. Coleman is not afraid of rolling the dice!
Which students will do well on the New SAT? Students who excel at critical thinking, advanced math, reading and comprehending advanced texts should do very well on the new SAT as well as the current SAT and ACT. Your top students may be very successful on the new SAT
The ACT is also shifting, albeit more subtly ACT is getting itself more Common-Core aligned, gradually and without fanfare Essay Changes Extra Scores/Reporting Digital Assessments Reading Changes Optional Constructed Response subject tests
ACT has historically responded to changes from the SAT With College Board adding Writing in March 2005, the ACT added its own optional essay in February 2005
ACT Reading has been changing gradually since October 2013 New ACT reading sections have compare and contrast dual passages! Taking a note directly from the SAT playbook Author 2 How is Author 1’s tone distinct from that of Author 2? Author 1 Irony Objective Detachment VS
Responding to the harder SAT essay, the ACT essay is changing will evaluate 4 areas: ideas and analysis, development and support, organization, and language use. It might be longer than 30 minutes Students will be provided several perspectives and asked to create their own analysis of a complex issue Progressive Conservative Author 2 Author 1 Vs. New EssayOld Essay Should students who have C averages in high school be allowed to get driving permits?
ACT math composition is shifting Pre-algebra: 14 items (23%) Elementary algebra: 10 items (17%) Intermediate algebra: 9 items (15%) Planar geometry: 14 items (23%) Coordinate geometry: 9 items (15%) Elementary Trigonometry: 4 items (6.7%) More advanced math is coming to the ACT as a direct response to the harder SAT math
Lock ‘em in early! The new battleground ACT Aspire product (replacing the EXPLORE and PLAN) for grades 3-10 New College Board assessments for grades in development Both shops targeting Common Core Assessments and End of Course Tests
As the SAT changes, the PSAT likewise changes
PSAT structural changes 2014 PSAT2015 PSAT Time (m)Questions Seconds/ question Time (m)Questions Seconds/ question Reading Writing Math Total min + 16% New test is 15 minutes shorter than a full New SAT, without the essay. Students will have more time per question, though they may need it
PSAT/NMSQT scoring changes MinMaxMinMax Reading Writing2080 Math Total PSAT 2015 PSAT New scoring will be a little confusing at first- similar to the PLAN 32 to ACT 36 scoring.
And in 2016, PSATs for the young’uns “Vertical scaling” allows scores to build towards the 1600 as new skills are added, potentially facilitating tracking/growth Section Min Section Max Test Total PSAT/NMSQT PSAT PSAT PSAT Same structure CB has plans to build assessments down to grade 6, and likely younger, in a play for Common Core assessment dominance. Expect a name change away from SAT/PSAT
National Merit- PSAT Students who did well on the 2014 “old” PSAT have a good chance of doing well on the 2015 “new” PSAT. Students will need to specifically prepare for the new PSAT if they are shooting for National Merit awards. A current SAT will confirm a score for National Merit from the 2015 PSAT/NMSQT, i.e., a current sophomore will not need to take the new SAT to attain National Merit
More PSAT news PSAT scores may be delayed from December 2015 to January They’ll arrive with new-to-old PSAT concordance tables For 2015, schools can administer the SAT on the recommended October 14 th or the alternate October 28 th date and beyond, optional Spring PSATs will be available to schools
Practice Materials and Scoring the New SAT
College Board keeps kicking the can further down the line Dec 2013 SAT practice tests promised and delayed; New PSAT arrived 3-24 New SAT delayed by a full year (U.C. system timing demands too tough!) 4 SAT practice tests promised, though without accurate scoring March 2015 June 2015 SAT practice tests promised and delayed: we did get some practice items Dec 2014 May SAT practice tests promised; we will now get 1 through Khan Without calibrated, accurate materials, it’s hard to help students prepare and predict likely scores
College Board is struggling to meet its own deadlines 2 weeks ago, the CB announced it would deliver 4 practice tests in May. Yesterday, we spoke to a CB rep who told us the CB had downgraded that to a single test available in May. The College Board book should arrive at the end of June, with 4 non-scaled tests (without conversion tables)
Announced New SAT Practice March 19 CB PSAT (no scoring scales till June-July) May: 1 CB-written, unscaled practice test arriving online via khan Academy (initially promised 4!) Summer- 4 CB tests will be bound and printed in the Official SAT Study Guide, 4 Khan Academy SAT practice tests to be released as printable PDFs, individually, at spaced intervals via Khan. Upload by cell phone photo to grade! Without scaled scores until mid-summer, it will be hard to predict performance or calibrate scores
Scoring practice tests College Board will use the May practice test on Khan’s site to try to simulate conversion tables. Once College Board releases scoring scales in June or July, students will be able to convert raw scores to scaled scores on Khan’s site. New SAT will not be normed or fully standardized until the March 2016 test, the test against which future tests will be compared and equated. Until the New SAT is normed, all scores are speculative. CB hopes the estimated scales will closely align with standardized scales.
Without scaled scores, it will be very tough to compare SAT and ACT scores Students will have to wait until June/July to know how they are doing on the redesigned SAT Accurate comparisons between the SAT and ACT will be impossible until scaled scores are released, making it harder to counsel students to go towards the new SAT. You may be able to miss 3 items to get a 720 on the new SAT, or 9 items. We have no idea until a tentative scale is published.
Expect a very different curve on the New SAT The new SAT, as we understand it, will be a significantly more challenging SAT. Students will miss more items. If this test is as hard as the released practice problems suggest it will be, the curve will be substantially different from that of the current SAT
College Board is intentionally delaying the March and possibly May 2016 SAT score returns. CB psychometricians will use May scores to help validate the new scoring scale from the March norming group. March 2016 Late May/June 2016 May 2016 Establish the curve, raw to scaled scores validate the curve Release the results
Concordance tables PSAT concordance tables arriving December 2015 or January 2016 SAT tables- comparing Old versus New- arriving next summer, May or June 2016 Derived SAT versus ACT tables will arrive in May or June CB announced, “the concordance to ACT will be derived by matching the redesigned SAT to the current SAT, and then the current SAT to the ACT using validated concordance tables.” True SAT-ACT concordance, from a common pool of students, likely to arrive in
The Khan Alliance Khan academy will have CB-endorsed practice material. Khan’s site will be in beta in May, and will offer expanded functionality in October. Khan will offer diagnostic baseline tests to generate personalized practice. Khan will eventually link to students’ College Board accounts to upload PSAT results and eventually SAT results to create personalized study materials.
Digitization of testing changes the nature of assessment ACT enters digital world 2015, SAT in Adaptive testing. Rich virtual environments. (GMAT-integrated reasoning. GRE) PARCC digital tests Future of testing moves beyond multiple choice New assessments will be adaptive, dynamic, allow students to display knowledge in new ways
Timeline for SAT-ACT changes Class of 2017 (rising sophomores) will straddle the old and new SAT. Many will take practice exams to determine their optimal test. March 2015 New PSAT for Class of 2017 and 2018 Practice PSAT released Final Old SAT New SAT! (delayed score return) First digital SAT October 2015 January 2016 March 2016 Digital ACT and ACT changes Spring/ Fall 2015 Oct, Nov, Dec 2015 Old SATs
Students don’t need to take both tests, though more students are hedging their bets 2014: over 30% of Princeton applicants submitted both SAT and ACT, as did roughly 25% of applicants to Harvard, UVA, and UCLA. It’s more efficient and cost-effective to select one test and focus all the energies in that direction. Baseline test scores help determine the optimal test. SAT ACT
How might these changes affect high schools? High schools interested in their students attaining high SAT scores will need to adapt to the new Common Core curriculum Private schools may need to supplement their content to get their kids New-SAT ready Certain student populations may be intimidated by the harder content on the new SAT
How will colleges perceive the new SAT compared to the old? The vast majority of feedback we have received from colleges pertaining to the new test has been positive. No college, to our knowledge, has come out and stated they will not accept the current SAT for the class of 2017, despite many rumors to the contrary. Changes to SAT subject test policies TBA. The new SAT may correlate more closely with freshman and 4-year GPA, as it appears to be a superior measure of college preparedness. Colleges will have early data by Summer of 2018.
Sophomore Class Must determine whether to take current SAT, New SAT, or ACT using baseline practice tests. A seamless transition between the old and new SAT is unlikely- these are different kinds of tests that will require different preparation. Most students will benefit from choosing a test. If you choose the current SAT, you will need to complete testing by January of Junior year, which will accelerate the testing timeline. If you choose the new SAT, you can start prepping in late fall/winter If you choose the ACT, typical timelines apply
The ideal time to prep Testing typically lives in Junior year, but in this year of transition, some sophomores may take an SAT in May or June Good first/ 2nd test Good 2 nd /3 rd test Final Test if needed Oct SAT Subject Tests J U N I O R Y E A R ED/EA apps APs PSAT NovDecJanFebMarAprMay Jun SepOctNov Dec SAT + ACT SAT ACT
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