The SAT’s upcoming redesign has some interesting elements – the return to the 1600 scale, the elimination of obscure-for-obscure’s-sake vocabulary, etc. – but perhaps the most noteworthy facet of the announcement is its continuation of a positive trend in standardized tests: a push for more “authentic” material.
Much like the GMAT’s recent addition of “Integrated Reasoning” – which includes problem types such as Graphics Interpretation and Table Analysis, requiring examinees to use real-world data to draw conclusions and determine relationships – the redesigned SAT will shift from “abstract math” to “real-world math,” as well as replace arcane vocabulary with relevant-but-challenging vocabulary.
What does this mean for students? The new SAT will look a lot more like the classroom, and preparation for the SAT will much more align with preparation for success in college and beyond. When the GMAT made its move to include more-authentic prompts for questions, the request came not from admissions directors but from business school faculty, who wanted students to be more prepared for the types of data analysis they would perform in school.
Similarly, the College Board has enlisted the aid of classroom teachers to help inform the creation of new test material. In this way “book smart” will more closely align with practical ability, and students will be encouraged to learn material in ways that will benefit them in and out of the classroom and testing center.
As educators, we embrace this opportunity to help students succeed on the new SAT, particularly given that the process of doing so will add more life skills, too. We’re particularly looking forward to:
The mere inclusion of the word “reasoning” is cause for excitement, as the Veritas Prep methodology has long valued deep understanding and application over mere memorization and “remembering.” Ratios, proportions, and percentages are incredible tools when learners embrace them conceptually, and we’ve long encouraged the use of “Relative Math” as a strategy for dealing with authentic numbers. For example, when authentic situations call for comparisons like:
Which city saved the most money as a percentage of its budget?
|City||Amount Saved||Total Budget|
A good understanding of ratios and proportions allows a student to quickly calculate that Andersonville saved a little more than 1/6 of its budget (since 8/48 would be 1/6, and the actual numerator is a little more than 8,000 and the actual denominator is a little less than 48,000), and Bronxtown saved less than 1/7 of its budget (since 20/140 is 1/7, but here the numerator is less than 20,000 and the denominator is more than 140,000). As the SAT trends toward more authentic numbers from real-world situations, the ability of students to perform “relative math” estimates, rounding off numbers and using ratios to get quick relationships, will be instrumental in success.
Check back tomorrow for two more reasons we’re excited for the new SAT!
By Brian Galvin