One big change for Juniors in Michigan next year is that the SAT will be part of MME testing instead of the ACT. This has created a little uncertainty among students and parents who may have been surprised by this news that was announced earlier in the year. So, what does it really mean for students?
The change will mostly mean that many more students in Michigan will be taking the SAT than ever before. Most colleges have historically accepted both ACT and SAT scores and this will continue to be true. Students in Michigan have usually taken the ACT because it is the test that has been given to all Juniors in Michigan since it was added to the MME in 2007. This will change starting next year as SAT won the bid to be the test given during the MME to all juniors in the state of Michigan. This will be an adjustment, but for students who have been preparing for the ACT, this does not mean they can not still take the ACT. Students can still sign up to take the ACT on a national testing day, just like they used to do before. Colleges will continue to look at both assessments.
Historically the SAT has been seen as a little more tricky in the types of questions they ask, but the format for the SAT is changing for the 2016 test takers. The College Board has reformatted the test, and it looks more like the ACT in the way the test is set up. There are a few big changes in the newly formatted SAT.
1. The first is that students used to lose a percentage of a point if they guessed incorrectly. With the new format for the SAT students will no longer be penalized for guessing. Students should answer all the questions, just like they do with the ACT.
Critical Reading 52 questions 66 minutes
Writing 44 questions 35 minutes
Essay 1 question 50 minutes
Mathematics 58 questions 80 minutes
Total questions 155 questions (including the essay) 230 minutes (including the essay)
- Total score ranging from 400 - 1600.
- Scale ranging from 200 - 800 for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing.
- Scale ranging from 200 - 800 for math
- 2 - 8 on each of three traits for Essay, and essay score is reported separately.
- Subscores will be reported for every test
3. Students often correlate the SAT with tricky vocabulary and studying words off of note cards. This will change next year. The vocabulary will focus on relevant words in context.
4. There will not be a separate science section. Students will apply their reading, writing, language, and math skills to answer questions in science, history, and social studies.
5. Students will be asked to interpret, synthesize, and use evidence found to answer the questions.
6. Math will focus on three key areas including, problem solving and data analysis (quantitative literacy), the heart of algebra (mastery of linear equations), and passport to advanced math (familiarity with more complex questions). There will not be a separate Geometry section.
7. There will be real world problems that directly relate to the work in college.
8. The essay will more closely mirror college writing. The writing prompt will be made public, and the only part that will vary is the excerpt the student is asked to analyze. Students will read a passage and explain how the author builds an argument to persuade an audience. The essay is now an optional piece of the SAT and is given at the end of the test. The essay will be mandatory for all 11th graders to take during the MME. When students sign up to take the test outside of the MME they will be allowed to choose if they will take the essay portion or not. Students will be given 50 minutes for the essay portion.
9. Every student who takes the SAT will come across a passage from the a founding document or a text from the ongoing global conversation about freedom, justice, and human dignity.
These changes to the SAT will call for some getting used to, but I am confident our students will do well. When meeting with a representative from the College Board we were told that students should do well if they do their work in school, and I am confident Novi High School students who do their work are well prepared for this test. The representative also said that students should read, read as much as they can. He mentioned reading different types of texts, so this summer students should pick up the newspaper each week and read it. Visit the library and check out a variety of books; look for fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, classics, and any other category you can think of. This will be a great way for students to prepare for the new upcoming SAT test.
This will be an adjustment for everyone. As we go through this next year, please feel free to contact your counselor. We are happy to answer any questions we can about this new test. We will not have all of the answers, but we will do our best to find the answers and we will navigate this together.
A great resource for preparing for the SAT is Khan Academy. They are partnering with the College Board to offer a number of resources to help students prepare for the new SAT. Keep checking their sight as they add more resources for the new test.