U.S. News


Is An Easier SAT Really A Better One?

There are changes coming to the SAT, including fewer answer choices and easier vocabulary words.
Posted at 12:38 PM, Jun 16, 2015

A college admissions test that has been the bane of many for decades will become a little easier. 

Actually, the SAT is now going to be "easier than ever," all the headlines say.

"I took the SAT, and I got a very average score," NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie said.

"Mediocrity," fellow anchor Natalie Morales said.

"I got an average score, too, but feel a whole lot better now," anchor Matt Lauer said.

"Wow," Guthrie said.

One of those changes will be scoring. The maximum you can get on the test will be 1,600. Before, it was 2,400. But before that, it was 1,600, so really they're just going back to the way it was.

There will also be fewer answer choices, more time, no penalty for guessing and easier vocabulary words.

But is easier better? An opinion writer for The Washington Post wrote a fierce "no":

"These tweaks are a shame inasmuch as educators lose measures that provided critical information. ... If a person can't write a series of sentences to express a cogent thought, does that person really qualify for a college education?"

Although a writer for Time praised the changes:

"It seems the College Board is on track to deliver a fair test that will respond thoughtfully to past criticism and self-reflection."

According to the College Board, students can start taking the new test in March 2016. It explains the changes are based off research pointing to the skills that are "most critical for college readiness and success." As the College Board puts it, "The assessment will require students to have a stronger command of fewer topics."

This video includes images from Getty Images, timlewisnm / CC BY SA 2.0 and Thomas Galvez / CC BY 2.0.