Few Parents Know About Substantial Changes In The SAT

August 24th, 2015

New York, NY (August 24, 2015)—A Kaplan Test Prep survey finds that 85% of parents of college-bound students are still unaware that the SAT is changing, even after two years since the change was announced and less than seven months before the new SAT launches in March 2016.* When provided more details about the proposed changes to the SAT, the surveyed parents’ opinions about the new format were divided: 30% say they viewed the changes as something negative or think the exam will be harder; 30% view the changes as something positive; 20% are indifferent; and 15% still don’t know enough to form an opinion. However, views on specific changes reveal that a majority of parents believe the new SAT will be harder:

  • Math: The current SAT focuses on computational skills and allows students to use a calculator during all sections. The new SAT will focus on advanced algebra, data analysis, and real-world problem solving and calculators will only be permitted for one of two math sections. Fifty-six (56%) percent of parents say these changes make the Math portion of the new SAT harder; 18% say it will become easier; and 26% say it makes no difference.
  • Reading: The current SAT Reading section includes three 20-25 minute sections of sentence completions, and long- and short-passage reading questions. The new SAT Reading section will last 65 minutes and be made up of long passages followed by reading comprehension questions and will also test understanding of passages from U.S. and World Literature, History/Social Science and Science. Fifty-three (53%) percent of parents say the redesigned SAT Reading section will be harder than the current one; 12% say it will become easier; and 36% say it makes no difference.
  • Writing and Language/Grammar: The current SAT tests grammar in the form of individual sentence correction. The new SAT will test grammar in the form of passages and will also include questions about structure and reading comprehension. Fifty-three (53%) percent of parents say the Writing and Language/Grammar portion of the new SAT will become harder; 13% say it becomes easier; and 34% say it makes no difference.
  • Essay: The current SAT essay is required, and asks students to develop a persuasive essay about an issue; facts and grammar have little bearing on the overall score. The new SAT essay is optional, and asks students to read a 650-750 word passage and then prepare a facts-based essay analyzing how the author builds her/his argument. Sixty (60%) percent of parents say the SAT essay will become harder; 15% say the essay will become easier; and 25% say it makes no difference.

No Wrong Answer Penalty: The current SAT includes a ¼ point penalty for wrong answers. The new SAT eliminates the wrong answer point penalty. Fifty-six (56%) percent of parents say this change will make the new SAT easier; 22% say the change will make it harder; and 23% say it makes no difference

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