What to Expect from the ACT and SAT in 2015

exam resized 600You might be thinking that it’s too early to start thinking about the ACT and SAT in 2015. After all, the 2013-2014 school year isn’t even done yet! 

However, these two tests and their respective companies have made strides towards significant changes in 2015. These changes will affect how students study for the tests this upcoming school year, and will hopefully help produce more accurate college readiness results.

The ACT’s Changes

The biggest change to the ACT in 2015 will be that students can take it online as well as on paper. Both options will be available, but ACT’s leaders believe that more students will feel engaged with the online version.

On the online version, students will be given a new set of questions that contain virtual tasks like pouring liquids into a beaker and measuring volume. These will imitate real-life problems and situations that students would encounter in the classroom and even in future careers. 

The ACT also wants to start testing students at an earlier age, starting in 3rd grade, to track their learning and provide educators with more information on how best to teach them and prepare them for college.

The SAT’s Changes 

Though it won’t be coming out until 2016, the new SAT is reacting to its competitor in a few different ways. The SAT wasn’t as popular as the ACT in recent years, and so the College Board leaders, makers of the SAT, are trying to figure out how to make their test better (though it won’t be available in a digital option). 

The SAT’s goal will be to analyze evidence and deal with real-life application. The College Board plans to get rid of questions and words that students will likely never use (like flabbergasted). The math section will have fewer topics but the remaining ones will require more in-depth application and analysis.

The biggest change may be coming with the essay portion. This will still be a required part of the test, but will challenge students to write arguments based on evidence instead of writing personal stories or making up facts that happen to be in well-structured sentences and paragraphs.

Overall, the test is going to be revamped to align more with what students should be learning with the Common Core Standards. Additionally, the SAT will also try to help more students see their college possibilities by giving more accurate assessments. This is especially the goal for low-income students who are very smart but would otherwise bypass college because they’re not good test takers. 

Both testing companies claim that the focus of the tests will still be on curriculum and what students already know. However, both seem to be anxious to update their tests to reflect 21st century student needs, where digital access and practical application can mean college and life success.

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