Changes coming to 2016 SAT test

By Scott Johnson, General assignment reporter, sjohnson@wjxt.com
Nicholas Jones, Producer, njones@wjxt.com
Published On: Mar 05 2014 09:43:28 PM EST
Updated On: Mar 06 2014 12:04:30 AM EST

They'll want to know their Declaration of Independence, Gettysburg Address and Martin Luther King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail. That is just one of the big changes being made to the SAT, the exam that many colleges and universities use to determine who gets admitted and who does not. Channel 4's Scott Johnson has more on what test writers are changing.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Major changes are coming to the SAT. The test's developer says it should be changed to be more practical.

The new SAT is expected to be ready for students to take in 2016, but changes to what students are being offered to prepare for the test are expected to start in 2015.

One of the biggest changes to the SAT will be the free SAT prep classes that will be made available for students of any income bracket.

"It should be fair all the way across the board," said David Leigh, a father whose daughter is currently preparing to take the SAT at Fletcher High School on Saturday.

Leigh's daughter is taking the exam for the second time to boost her scores. He and his wife, Kimberly, said they don't have the money to pay for expensive training classes and applaud the college board for offering free SAT training vouchers to students beginning in the spring of 2015.

"I think that would be great because she has talked about that," said Kimberly Leigh. "But the cost is what has stopped her."

Other changes to the test include going back to the 1600 point maximum; it recently went up to 2400 to accommodate an essay portion, which will also be removed.

"SAT words," which are words infrequently used outside the test, will be removed from the vocabulary section. Finally, the test will also stop deducting points for wrong answers.

The changes are all something teens like Ian McCarthy are praising.

"I think writing and reading and math are very important," said McCarthy. "However, some of the questions on the test don't even need to be there."

McCarthy is a student at Mandarin High School, where he's in a free SAT study group. The group was his only option to prepare because he couldn't afford expensive courses.

"Especially with the economy, I have a part-time job," said McCarthy. "Even with that, I would not have been able to pay for those classes."

The changes will take effect in spring 2015, the "new" test will be administered one year later in spring 2016. In the meantime, students can also go KhanAcademy.com for free SAT coaching.

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