Monday, March 9, 2015

The New SAT ... just like the old ACT, and AP Lang

In an effort to stay relevant as a standardized gatekeeper for college admission, the SAT test has been re-imagined and re-designed and re-packaged by the College Board. Much fanfare was made last fall with the release of information about "the new and improved SAT."  By now most of the news about changes have been heard: elimination of the archaic vocabulary section, a new essay form that is now optional, a focus on close reading of passages, an expectation of evidence-based responses to reading passages. It wasn't all that earth shaking, to tell you the truth. However, you can see the work samples and judge for yourself by visiting this preview.

Of course, the SAT is playing catch-up to the ACT, which outpaced it for the first time last year. And, in the spirit of "the sincerest form of flattery," SAT's revolutionary "change" to the grammar section is to simply copy ACT's approach or style. The SAT grammar test is now passage-based with multiple choice answers for the best version of a sentence, phrase, word choice. The College Board also appears to be copying itself (and a little of ACT) with its new reading passages, which look surprisingly like simpler versions of the objective reading on the AP Language and Composition exam. That is with a healthy dose of social studies thrown in. The emphasis on non-fiction with a connection to historical pieces in tune with "Founding documents" may require some literacy instruction - finally! - in high school history classes.

The essay? Basically an argumentative deconstruction - also in the manner of AP Lang.

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