March 9, 2005
This Saturday, March 13, high schoolers will take the new version of the SAT.
"It's 45 minutes longer, so I'm not really looking forward to that," said Western Albemarle High School junior Willa Armstrong of the new test.
As if three hours of reading and arithmetic wasn't long enough, the College Board has added writing to the SAT, totaling test time to three hours and 45 minutes and the score to 2400, instead of 1600.
So why the change?
Western Albemarle High School Counselor Ross Goldman points to two reasons.
"One, they wanted to align the SAT more with what colleges are looking for."
Colleges are looking for what has been learned in the classroom.
"The other thing," added Goldman, "they wanted to provide colleges with more information on their applicants. That's with the writing section."
In addition to the new writing section, there's changes to the reading and arithmetic. Math will test through Algebra II, and for reading, analogies will be a thing of the past.
Surprisingly, some high schoolers are going to miss them.
"It's easier for me to look at words analytically than to have to remember grammar and spelling. It's fun. It's like a puzzle," said Armstrong of the analogies.
But the board threw out the little puzzles because they didn't reflect what was taught in the classroom.
"Seldom are students in English class forced to analyze an analogy for the purposes of homework, quiz or test," observed Goldman. "But often times they are asked to read short or long passages and make deductions about the main point and conclusion."
The board says the test isn't harder, but they don't know for sure until scores are in. They also do not know how colleges will use the test, since their is no standard for college admissions.
What they do know for sure is, if a high schooler doesn't like their score, they can always take it over.