Updates about the SAT & ACT Every Parent Should Know
August 22, 2016
SAT Test Security Scandal
In the biggest testing news of the summer, we learned that new, unused SAT test questions were leaked by or stolen from a source within the College Board (CB). Since these questions had never appeared on an official test, they must have been intended for upcoming SAT test dates in the fall, winter, and spring of 2016-2017.
The College Board has endured heavy criticism this year for its test security. CB reuses SAT tests to save money and gather data, but many of these reused tests have been discussed or made available online months before being re-administered. This current incident, however, marks the first time that unused material has been leaked or stolen. CB is calling it a “criminal” matter.
CB claims no damage has been done since the questions have never appeared on a test, but this incident does little to inspire confidence. In a worst case scenario, which likely will not unfold, CB may have to cancel SAT test dates because the tests intended for those dates have been compromised. You can read the full story here.
New SAT Tests Released
Since the announcement of the new SAT, only four official practice tests have been available, but that is about to change. Today, two new tests will be released on Khan Academy and the CB website. These tests are the April 2016 school day test and the May 2016 test.
For seniors who are taking another SAT in the fall but have worked through all of the tests available, these new tests will be a great resource straight from the source.
ACT Changes Essay Scoring Scale (Again)
After switching to a 1-36 scoring scale for the essay during the 2015-2016 academic year, the ACT has switched back to the previous 2-12 scoring scale for 2016-2017 and beyond.
The 1-36 scale for the essay was fraught with controversy from the beginning, as many very capable writers and and english students received surprisingly low essay scores. No one will be sorry to see the brief 1-36 experiment go. Nonetheless, seniors re-taking the essay portion of the test should be aware that the scale has changed again. The current essay format, also introduced last year, will remain the same.
New ACT Math Content
While changes to the SAT have received much publicity, the ACT has quietly and gradually made changes of its own. This year, the most notable change is that the math content tests has been expanded to include more statistical concepts, some of which are intermediate to advanced.
Many students do not learn statistics on the traditional HS math track. For these students, especially those advanced in math, tutoring is an excellent way to learn and/or review these concepts before the test so that they are not unfamiliar.