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The New SAT ® Important information about the Critical Reading & Writing sections
2 The Changes to the SAT Verbal Name will be changed to critical reading. Analogies will be eliminated. Short reading passages will replace analogies and will measure the kind of reasoning formerly measured by analogies.
3 The Changes to the SAT Analogies will be ELIMINATED CLAY:POTTER:: (A) stone:sculptor (B) machines:mechanic (C) hems:tailor (D) bricks:architect (E) chalk:teacher Correct answer: A
4 Revised SAT Verbal Section– Renamed Critical Reading Example of passage-based analogical reasoning items The relationship between the “spectroscope” and a “star’s chemical composition” (lines 37–38) is most like the relationship between (A) a periscope and a submarine (B) a microscope and a cellular structure (C) a generator and an electrical charge (D) a test tube and an experiment Correct answer: B
5 The Changes to the SAT Writing Multiple-choice grammar and usage questions Will measure the student’s understanding of how to use language in a clear, consistent manner, how to revise and edit, and how to recognize an error in a sentence. Student-written essay Will measure the student’s use of language: logical presentation of ideas, development of a point of view, and clarity of expression under timed conditions. Essay practice tool provided AT NO COST to all schools administering the PSAT/NMSQT.
6 Time Specifications SAT Old SATNew SAT 3 hours3 hours 45 minutes Critical Reading 75 minutes Two 30-minute sections and one 15-minute section 70 minutes Two 25-minute sections and one 20-minute section Writing 60 minutes Two multiple-choice sections (one 25-minute section and one 10-minute section) and one 25-minute essay Variable Section30 minutes25 minutes Math75 minutes Two 30-minute sections and one 15-minute section 70 minutes Two 25-minute sections and one 20-minute section
7 Test Content and Question Types Old SATNew SAT Critical Reading Sentence Completion Critical Reading: Long reading passages Analogies Sentence Completion Critical Reading: Short and long reading passages Writing Multiple-choice: Improving sentences and paragraphs and identifying errors. Student-written essay: Effectively communicate a point of view on an issue, supporting a position with reasoning and examples.
8 Test Scores Old SATNew SAT Critical ReadingV 200–800CR 200–800 Writing W 200–800 2 subscores Essay: 2–12 (~1/3 of writing score) Multiple-choice: 20–80 (~2/3 of writing score)
10 Revised SAT Verbal Section– Renamed Critical Reading Strengthens alignment with classroom practices Measures knowledge of genre, cause and effect, rhetorical devices, comparative arguments, and the ability to recognize relationships among parts of a text. Long and short reading passages are taken from different fields: Natural sciences Humanities Social sciences Literary fiction Short reading passages, which replace analogies, will measure the kind of reasoning formerly measured by the analogy section.
11 Revised SAT Verbal Section– Renamed Critical Reading Strengthens alignment with classroom practices Measures critical reading skills as shown in student’s ability to: Determine word meanings. Analyze sentence structures. Analyze organizational structures of longer passages. Synthesize longer passages into summaries, main points, or themes. Make inferences, draw conclusions, recognize implications. Recognize tone. Continued
12 Revised SAT Verbal Section– Renamed Critical Reading Strengthens alignment with classroom practices Measures critical reading skills as shown in student’s ability to: Analyze and evaluate author’s purpose, audience, and rhetorical strategies. Compare or contrast ideas in a passage or in a pair of related passages. Analyze and evaluate ideas, opinions, and arguments in a passage or in a pair of related passages. Distinguish conflicting viewpoints in a passage or in a pair of related passages.
13 Revised SAT Verbal Section– Renamed Critical Reading Strengthens alignment with classroom practices Analogy items The new SAT critical reasoning section will no longer include analogy item types. Critical reading items will embed analogical reasoning tasks within the context of reading and analyzing texts, which is a more authentic measure of how students use analogical reasoning to support critical reading, both in and out of the classroom.
14 Revised SAT Verbal Section– Renamed Critical Reading Strengthens alignment with classroom practices Analogy items Analogy items measure both vocabulary knowledge and analogical reasoning skills—the ability to see a relationship in a pair of words and to recognize a similar or parallel relationship in another pair of words. Analogy items take the form A:B::C:D, where a student is given the words A, B, and C in the item stem and is asked to select D from among five options. The student must first establish the relationship between the words A and B and then select D such that the same relationship exists between C and D. While research has shown analogical reasoning to be a valuable skill, the format of the item type is considered artificial and not aligned with authentic critical reading tasks.
15 Revised SAT Verbal Section– Renamed Critical Reading Strengthens alignment with classroom practices Measuring analogical reasoning without the analogy item type: Sentence Completion items measure both word knowledge and the ability to infer word meaning from context. Application and Analogy items ask students to understand an idea or relationship in a passage and then select a parallel idea or relationship from among five hypothetical relationships involving different contexts presented in the response options. Bridging items ask students to understand an idea in one passage and then compare it with an idea in another passage. Bridging items ask students to understand an author’s point of view in one passage and then infer what the author would think about an issue or idea expressed in another passage. Comprehension questions ask students to explain analogies, metaphors, and other comparisons in passages.
16 Revised SAT Verbal Section– Renamed Critical Reading Example of passage-based analogical reasoning items The relationship between the “spectroscope” and a “star’s chemical composition” (lines 37–38) is most like the relationship between (A)a periscope and a submarine (B)a microscope and a cellular structure (C)a generator and an electrical charge (D)a test tube and an experiment Correct answer: B
17 Line 5 The Critical Reading Section Example of new short-paragraph reading items Dinosaurs have such a powerful grip on the public consciousness that it is easy to forget just how recently scientists have become aware of them. A two-year-old child today may be able to rattle off three dinosaur names, but in 1824 there was only one known dinosaur. Period. The word “dinosaur” didn’t even exist until 1841. Indeed, in those early years, the world was baffled by the discovery of these absurdly enormous creatures.
18 The Critical Reading Section Example of new short-paragraph reading items 1.The reference to the “two-year-old child” (line 4) primarily serves to (A) challenge a popular assumption (B) highlight the extent of the change (C) suggest that a perspective is simplistic (D) introduce a controversial idea (E) question a contemporary preoccupation Correct answer: B 2.The statement “Period” (line 6) primarily serves to emphasize the (A) authoritative nature of the finding (B) lack of flexibility in a popular theory (C) stubborn nature of a group of researchers (D) limited knowledge about a subject (E) refusal of the public to accept new discoveries Correct answer: D
20 New SAT Writing Section Additional measure of an important college success skill Essay section measures a student’s ability to develop and express ideas effectively using standard written English. Essay prompts and Scoring Guide are designed to measure critical thinking, insight, and complexity of thought as student develops a point of view on an issue. Essay is a direct measure, under timed conditions, of the kind of writing that is expected in most college courses—writing that engages an issue critically and develops a point of view in a thoughtful, coherent, and cogent essay.
21 New SAT Writing Section Additional measure of an important college success skill Multiple-choice items 3 types of multiple-choice writing questions: Identifying Sentence Errors Improving Sentences Improving Paragraphs
22 New SAT Writing Section Examples of Multiple-Choice Writing Items Identifying Sentence Errors: It is likely that the opening of the convention center, previously set for July 1, would be postponed because of (A)(B)(C)(D) the bricklayers’ strike. No error. (E) Correct answer: C
23 New SAT Writing Section Examples of Multiple-Choice Writing Items Improving Sentences: Although several groups were absolutely opposed to the outside support given the revolutionary government, other groups were as equal in their adamant approval of that support. (A)were as equal in their adamant approval of (B)held equally adamant approval of (C)were equally adamant in approving (D)had approved equally adamantly (E)held approval equally adamant of Correct answer: C
24 New SAT Writing Section Examples of Multiple-Choice Writing Items Improving Paragraphs: (1) At one point in the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, the evil archaeologist Belloq shows the heroic Indiana Jones a cheap watch. (2) If the watch were to be buried in the desert for a thousand years and then dug up, Belloq says, it would be considered priceless. (3) I often think of the scene whenever I consider the record album– collecting phenomenon, it being one of the more remarkable aspects of popular culture in the United States. (4) Collecting record albums gives us a chance to make a low-cost investment that might pay dividends in the future. [Excerpt from longer three-paragraph passage]
25 New SAT Writing Section Examples of Multiple-Choice Writing Items Improving Paragraphs: In the context of the first paragraph, which revision is most needed in sentence 3? (A)Insert “As a matter of fact” at the beginning. (B)Omit the words “it being.” (C)Omit the word “scene.” (D)Change the comma to a semicolon. (E)Change “think” to “thought” and “consider” to “considered.” Correct answer: B
26 New SAT Writing Section Additional measure of an important college success skill. Encourages writing in schools. Essay Students will read a short excerpt, or two quotations, and respond to a prompt that frames an issue. Students must first think critically about the issue presented in the essay assignment and then define and support their point of view, using reasoning and evidence based on their own experiences, readings, or observations. The essay will be similar to the type of on-demand writing that is typically done in college.
27 New SAT Writing Section Prompts Prompts will be written to be easily accessible to the general test-taking population, including students for whom English is a second language (ESL), and to be free of figurative, technical, or specific literary references. Prompts will be relevant to a wide range of fields and interests, not narrowly related to specific topics. Prompts will be tested to ensure that they do not carry any bias across subgroups.
28 Essay Prompt Think carefully about the issue presented in the following quotations and the assignment below. 1.While secrecy can be destructive, some of it is indispensable in human lives. Some control over secrecy and openness is needed in order to protect identity. Such control may be needed to guard privacy, intimacy, and friendship. Adapted from Sissela Bok, “The Need for Secrecy” 2.Secrecy and a free, democratic government, President Harry Truman once said, don’t mix. An open exchange of information is vital to the kind of informed citizenry essential to healthy democracy. Editorial, “Overzealous Secrecy Threatens Democracy” Assignment: Do people need to keep secrets, or is secrecy harmful? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.
29 Essay Prompt The essay will not be coachable since students must respond directly to the assigned topic. Essays not written on the assigned topic will receive a subscore of zero for the essay portion of the writing section.
30 How Will the Essays Be Scored? Readers will understand that the essay is a first draft; read quickly to gain an impression of the whole essay relative to the holistic Scoring Guide and the sample range-finder essays; read the entire essay before scoring and then score immediately; read supportively, looking for and rewarding what is done well rather than what is done badly or omitted; not judge an essay by its length or the quality of handwriting; understand that grammar is not an overriding factor in determining an essay score; and consider spelling only when errors are so persistent that they interfere with meaning.
31 How Will the Essays Be Scored? Readers for the new SAT writing section will be trained to recognize and reward a wide variety of writing styles and strategies for developing a point of view at each score point. The new SAT essay will neither reward nor punish formulaic approaches to writing, such as the five-paragraph essay. Prompts and the Scoring Guide call for directly relevant responses that cannot be coached or memorized ahead of test time.
32 New SAT Scoring Guide Score of 6Score of 5Score of 4 An essay in this category is outstanding, demonstrating clear and consistent mastery, although it may have a few minor errors. A typical essay effectively and insightfully develops a point of view on the topic and demonstrates outstanding critical thinking, using clearly appropriate examples, reasons, and other evidence to support its position is well organized and clearly focused, demonstrating clear coherence and smooth progression of ideas exhibits skillful use of language, using a varied, accurate, and apt vocabulary demonstrates meaningful variety in sentence structure is free of most errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics An essay in this category is effective, demonstrating reasonably consistent mastery, although it will have occasional errors or lapses in quality. A typical essay effectively develops a point of view on the topic and demonstrates strong critical thinking, generally using appropriate examples, reasons, and other evidence to support its position is well organized and focused, demonstrating coherence and progression of ideas exhibits facility in the use of language, using appropriate vocabulary demonstrates variety in sentence structure is generally free of most errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics An essay in this category is competent, demonstrating adequate mastery, although it will have lapses in quality. A typical essay develops a point of view on the topic and demonstrates competent critical thinking, using adequate examples, reasons, and other evidence to support its position is generally organized and focused, demonstrating some coherence and progression of ideas exhibits adequate but inconsistent facility in the use of language, using generally appropriate vocabulary demonstrates some variety in sentence structure has some errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics
33 Essays not written on the essay assignment will receive a score of zero. New SAT Scoring Guide Score of 3Score of 2Score of 1 An essay in this category is inadequate, but demonstrates developing mastery, and is marked by ONE OR MORE of the following weaknesses: develops a point of view on the issue, demonstrating some critical thinking, but may do so inconsistently or use inadequate examples, reasons, or other evidence to support its position is limited in its organization or focus, or may demonstrate some lapses in coherence or progression of ideas displays developing facility in the use of language, but sometimes uses weak vocabulary or inappropriate word choice lacks variety or demonstrates problems in sentence structure contains an accumulation of errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics An essay in this category is seriously limited, demonstrating little mastery, and is flawed by ONE OR MORE of the following weaknesses: develops a point of view on the issue that is vague or seriously limited, demonstrating weak critical thinking, providing inappropriate or insufficient examples, reasons, or other evidence to support its position is poorly organized and/or focused, or demonstrates serious problems with coherence or progression of ideas displays very little facility in the use of language, using very limited vocabulary or incorrect word choice demonstrates frequent problems in sentence structure contains errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics so serious that meaning is somewhat obscured An essay in this category is fundamentally lacking, demonstrating very little or no mastery, and is severely flawed by ONE OR MORE of the following weaknesses: develops no viable point of view on the topic, or provides little or no evidence to support its position is disorganized or unfocused, resulting in a disjointed or incoherent essay displays fundamental errors in vocabulary demonstrates severe flaws in sentence structure contains pervasive errors in grammar, usage, or mechanics that persistently interfere with meaning
34 Scoring Procedures for the Essay Procedures will be similar to those for the current SAT Subject Test in Writing. Essays will be scored by trained high school English teachers and college professors with experience teaching writing. Each essay will be scored independently by two readers according to the holistic Scoring Guide in conjunction with sample essays selected for training. Essays will be scored on a scale of 1 to 6 by each reader (total score of 2 to 12). Essays will be scanned and distributed to readers via the Web. Scoring and reader supervision will take place online.
35 Essays Will Be Scored Fairly and Accurately If the two readers’ scores differ by more than one point, the essay will be read by a third reader. Based on the College Board’s experience in scoring the SAT Subject Test in Writing, the rigorous reader training and qualification process, and continuous monitoring of readers as they score, the College Board expects that less than 8 percent of all essays will call for a third reader.
36 Colleges Requiring a Standardized Writing Test Colleges that accept the SAT will continue to do so, and all will receive the writing score. Many colleges have announced that they will require or recommend that students taking any college admissions exam must submit a writing score (including an essay) beginning with those entering college in the fall of 2006.
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