In the spring of 2016, the newly redesigned SAT exam was administered to students for the first time. The SAT, owned and published by the College Board, a not-for-profit organization that develops and administers standardized tests, has undergone several changes.
The new test places a stronger focus on problem solving, using context across a variety of disciplines, and building upon reading and writing skills that students will encounter in college and in their future careers. The scoring for the test has shifted from a scale of 2400 back to 1600, with a separate score for the essay-writing portion. In addition, test takers are no longer penalized for choosing incorrect answer choices. With more focus placed on contextualized words students will likely encounter again in their educational careers, there is no longer a need to memorize obscure vocabulary words.
However, some educators claim the newly redesigned SAT may not be a better test. It may provide a more accurate prediction in determining undergraduate success, but it still under-predicts specific applicant cohorts. It does not provide accurate predictions for classroom performance of older applicants, students who are second language learners in English, and women applicants.
The changes are designed to compete with the ACT, which is currently the most widely implemented standardized test. However, despite the changes, admissions boards in higher education are recognizing more and more that neither the newly redesigned SAT nor the ACT is needed in determining high-quality admissions.
Since its adoption in March 2016, more than fifty schools have changed their standardized testing policies: tests are now optional for applicants. Currently, more than 800 bachelor degree-earning institutions do not require either test from all or many of their applicants. This list also includes 200 schools ranked among the top tiers in their respective academic cohorts.