March 6, 2014
The College Board unveiled sweeping changes to the SAT's on Thursday, the first in nearly a decade.
The board has made these changes, saying the test has become "too disconnected from the work of our high schools." The exam will once again be scored on a 1600 point scale. The essay will now be optional and tough vocabulary words will be replaced with more relevant ones.
The College Board said the changes to the exam will more closely reflect what students learn in the classroom.
Representatives from both Albemarle County Schools and the University of Virginia say they support the new format that is more representative of what students study in high school and the skills they need college.
According to school officials, students in Albemarle Co. usually score 15 percent better on the SAT than the state and national average, but many of the students put tremendous pressure on themselves to do well.
School officials hope the new exam will ease some of that pressure now what they are learning in the classroom can be applied directly to the exam, rather than spending hours outside the classroom assiduously memorizing vocabulary, and test taking strategies.
"Can you be analytical? Can you apply what you learned to problem solving? That's what we want students to do, that's what we focus on a lot in the classroom," Superintendent for Student Learning Billy Haun said. "So hopefully our students will be able to walk straight from the classroom to take the test and do very well on it, so we are excited."
UVa. admissions officers say while they haven't explored the changes in depth. They support getting a better picture of a student's abilities in the classroom.
“Anything that would better help understand a student’s potential, ability to succeed in college and increase access for students is something that we support,” said UVa. Dean of Admission Greg Roberts.
The new changes roll out in 2016 and this year’s high school freshman will take it their junior year.