This presentation has been created to give educators, students, and parents an overview of the SAT ® .
The SAT is a college admissions exam that measures college success skills—the critical thinking and reasoning skills in reading, math and, writing—that are necessary for academic success in college.
The SAT math section is primarily a test of math reasoning, but of course, you can’t have math reasoning without math content. The College Board has always included the math content that college-bound students typically take, and in the past, that has always been Algebra I and Geometry. Our own statistics, as well as those of the National Center on Educational Statistics, indicate that all high school students are taking more math than they did in years past—indeed, 97 percent of all college-bound seniors take at least three years of college-preparatory math. The SAT, therefore, has enhanced its content to better align with current high school curricula and better assess the quantitative skills necessary for success in college. While the writing section is fairly new to the SAT, the multiple-choice items have been on the PSAT/NMSQT since 1997. It is also important to note that a significant majority of states administer writing tests to tenth- and eleventh-graders so the majority of students will be familiar with essay tests when they take the SAT.
The College Board does not recommend that students take the SAT early in their Junior year. If they take the test early in their junior year, there’s the risk that they won’t do the best they can. Normally, most students wait until spring of their junior year to take the SAT because they want to have covered as much English and Math coursework as possible. This makes good sense. A list of colleges and universities requiring the SAT Writing section is available at www.collegeboard.com/newsat/hs/require.html.
Here are the time specifications of the SAT. The variable section does not count toward the final score, but it is used to try out new SAT questions to make sure they are appropriate to include on future editions of the SAT. Statistical information received from this section is also used to ensure that scores across all administrations of the SAT are comparable.
The next few slides provide a general overview of the SAT. We will take a closer look at each section later in the presentation. Short reading passages will now embed analogical reasoning tasks within the context of reading and analyzing texts, which is a more authentic measure of how students use analogical reasoning to support critical reading, both in and out of the classroom. The elimination of analogies is an example of how the test will better reflect classroom practices. Students generally do not encounter analogies outside of the SAT.
Students will no longer see quantitative comparisons on the SAT. The SAT math section will continue to be a test of mathematical reasoning, but it will test this reasoning through expanded content. The content has been expanded to reflect the mathematics that college-bound students typically learn during their first three years of high school. The reasoning aspects of the test, together with the expanded content, will more effectively assess the mathematics necessary for student success in college. 97% of current college bound students complete 3 years of math, so the test will more closely measure the math they are already studying.
A Guide to the New SAT Essay is available to high schools. This free guide includes ScoreWrite ™, which allows students a chance to practice a standardized essay while also providing professional development to teachers by training them to score the essays using a holistic scoring guide. Providing teachers with firsthand involvement benefits students because their teachers will fully understand the expectations of the SAT essays. All schools received 3 copies of ScoreWrite in January 2004. Additionally, each high school English chair received an updated version of ScoreWrite ™ in December, 2004. The multiple choice section of writing is strikingly similar to the Composition section of the English I EOC. As such, EOC performance and goal summary performance (Goal 6) is a good indicator of the multiple choice writing score.
This is a chart of test content and question types. There will be only two item types for math (Multiple-Choice and Student-Produced Responses) and will contain Algebra II content. The percentages of the test that cover each of the content areas will shift slightly, but this is not indicated on the chart. For example, Data and Statistics items will receive greater emphasis.
Students can earn 200-800 points on the Critical reading Section as well as 200-800 on the Math Section. Students will receive two writing subscores. The essay will contribute approximately one-third to the writing score, and the multiple-choice questions will contribute two-thirds.
The best way for students to prepare for the SAT—and for college—is to challenge themselves throughout high school by taking rigorous courses, including at least three years of math. Students should also read and write as much as possible—both in and outside of school. It is also important for students to familiarize themselves with the SAT so they know what to expect on test day. Students should be familiar with the different types of questions on the SAT and the directions for each type of question. The most effective way for students to familiarize themselves with the test is to take full-length practice SATs. The College Board regularly discloses SATs and makes them available to students through publications such as the SAT Preparation Booklet ™ and The Official SAT Study Guide: For the New SAT™ , respectively. Taking the PSAT/NMSQT is another effective way for students to prepare for the SAT. Commercial coaching courses—those that focus on drills, tricks, and memorization techniques—often advertise huge score gains. Students should know that recent research demonstrates that coached students are only slightly more likely to have large score gains than uncoached students. The research also demonstrated that about one-third of coached students are likely to have no score change at all or to have a decrease in scores. In weighing the potential benefits and costs of any special preparation activities, students need to consider how they can best use their time to prepare for college. SAT scores are just one factor colleges consider when making admissions decisions. Colleges also consider things like community service, extracurricular activities such as music or athletics, recommendations, work experience, and special circumstances.
Time Specifications SAT SAT 3 hours 45 minutes Critical Reading 70 minutes Two 25-minute sections and one 20-minute section Math 70 minutes Two 25-minute sections and one 20-minute section Writing 60 minutes Two multiple-choice sections (one 25-minute section and one 10-minute section) and one 25-minute essay Variable Section 25 minutes
Measure the student’s understanding of how to use language in a clear, consistent manner, how to revise and edit, and how to recognize an error in a sentence.
Measures the student’s use of language: logical presentation of ideas, development of a point of view, and clarity of expression under timed conditions.
Essay practice tool provided AT NO COST to all schools administering the PSAT/NMSQT.
Contents of the SAT
Test Content and Question Types SAT Critical Reading Sentence Completion Critical Reading: Short and long reading passages Math Multiple-choice items and student-produced responses measuring: Number and Operations; Algebra I, II, and Functions; Geometry; and Statistics, Probability, and Data Analysis Writing Multiple-choice: Improving sentences and paragraphs and identifying errors. Student-written essay: Effectively communicate a point of view on an issue, supporting a position with reasoning and examples.
Test Scores SAT Critical Reading CR 200–800 Math M 200–800 Writing W 200–800 2 subscores Essay: 2–12 (~1/3 of writing score) Multiple-choice: 20–80 (~2/3 of writing score)