The tested mathematics content on the SAT was expanded to include concepts of slope of a line , probability , elementary statistics including median and mode , and counting problems. By the early s, average total SAT scores were around typically, on the verbal and on the math. The average scores on the modification of the SAT I were similar: In , half of the college-bound seniors taking the SAT were scoring between and on the verbal section and between and on the math section, with corresponding median scores of and , respectively.
The drop in SAT verbal scores, in particular, meant that the usefulness of the SAT score scale to had become degraded. At the top end of the verbal scale, significant gaps were occurring between raw scores and uncorrected scaled scores: Corrections to scores above had been necessary to reduce the size of the gaps and to make a perfect raw score result in an At the other end of the scale, about 1.
Although the math score averages were closer to the center of the scale than the verbal scores, the distribution of math scores was no longer well approximated by a normal distribution. These problems, among others, suggested that the original score scale and its reference group of about 10, students taking the SAT in needed to be replaced.
Beginning with the test administered in April , the SAT score scale was recentered to return the average math and verbal scores close to Although only 25 students had received perfect scores of in all of , students taking the April test scored a Because the new scale would not be directly comparable to the old scale, scores awarded on April and later were officially reported with an "R" for example, "R" to reflect the change in scale, a practice that was continued until For example, verbal and math scores of received before correspond to scores of and , respectively, on the scale.
Certain educational organizations viewed the SAT re-centering initiative as an attempt to stave off international embarrassment in regards to continuously declining test scores, even among top students.
Since , using a policy referred to as "Score Choice", students taking the SAT-II subject exams were able to choose whether or not to report the resulting scores to a college to which the student was applying.
It was also suggested that the old policy of allowing students the option of which scores to report favored students who could afford to retake the tests. In , the test was changed again, largely in response to criticism by the University of California system. Other factors included the desire to test the writing ability of each student; hence the essay. The essay section added an additional maximum points to the score, which increased the new maximum score to The mathematics section was expanded to cover three years of high school mathematics.
To emphasize the importance of reading, the verbal section's name was changed to the Critical Reading section. In March , it was announced that a small percentage of the SATs taken in October had been scored incorrectly due to the test papers' being moist and not scanning properly, and that some students had received erroneous scores.
The College Board decided not to change the scores for the students who were given a higher score than they earned.
A lawsuit was filed in on behalf of the 4, students who received an incorrect score on the SAT. At the time, some college admissions officials agreed that the new policy would help to alleviate student test anxiety, while others questioned whether the change was primarily an attempt to make the SAT more competitive with the ACT, which had long had a comparable score choice policy.
Still others, such as Oregon State University and University of Iowa , allow students to choose which scores they submit, considering only the test date with the highest combined score when making admission decisions. Beginning in the fall of , test takers were required to submit a current, recognizable photo during registration. In order to be admitted to their designated test center, students were required to present their photo admission ticket — or another acceptable form of photo ID — for comparison to the one submitted by the student at the time of registration.
The changes were made in response to a series of cheating incidents, primarily at high schools in Long Island, New York, in which high-scoring test takers were using fake photo IDs to take the SAT for other students. On March 5, , the College Board announced its plan to redesign the SAT in order to link the exam more closely to the work high school students encounter in the classroom. The SAT has been renamed several times since its introduction in It was originally known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test.
According to the president of the College Board at the time, the name change was meant "to correct the impression among some people that the SAT measures something that is innate and impervious to change regardless of effort or instruction. Test preparation companies in Asia have been found to provide test questions to students within hours of a new SAT exam's administration.
The leaked PDF file was on the internet before the August 25, exam. For decades many critics have accused designers of the verbal SAT of cultural bias as an explanation for the disparity in scores between poorer and wealthier test-takers. The object of the question was to find the pair of terms that had the relationship most similar to the relationship between "runner" and "marathon". The correct answer was "oarsman" and "regatta".
The choice of the correct answer was thought to have presupposed students' familiarity with rowing , a sport popular with the wealthy. However, according to Murray and Herrnstein, the black-white gap is smaller in culture-loaded questions like this one than in questions that appear to be culturally neutral. They further found that, after controlling for family income and parental education, the so-called achievement tests known as the SAT II measure aptitude and college readiness 10 times higher than the SAT.
The largest association with gender on the SAT is found in the math section, where male students, on average, score higher than female students by approximately 30 points. Some researchers believe that the difference in scores for both race and gender is closely related to psychological phenomenon known as stereotype threat.
Stereotype threat happens when an individual who identifies themselves within a subgroup of people, is taking a test and comes across a stereotype usually of American origin regarding their subgroup.
This along with additional test anxiety, will usually cause a low test performance for that individual or group affected. This is because the individual is under increased pressure to overcome the stereotype threat and prove it wrong.
This form of stereotype can be translated into a form of gender or race bias and is found in numerous SAT tests spanning throughout the years it has existed. Gender bias of the SAT tests can happen within certain sections which include the questions or passages themselves.
This bias itself is usually for that against females. For the demographics example, students are often asked to identify their race or gender before taking the exam, just this alone is enough to create the threat since this puts the issues regarding their gender or race in front and center of their mind. For the mathematics example, a question in the May SAT test involved a chart which identified more boys than girls in mathematics classes overall.
This is also based off the common general stereotype that "men are better at math than women," . Since the passages were in the beginning it may have allowed this new information to linger in the minds of the test takers for the rest of their test taking time, especially the females who may now have the new thought as to not being intellectually competent of doing things other than house work and chores.
Studies suggest that teaching about stereotype threat might offer a practical means of reducing its detrimental effects. It can be shown when women were informed about stereotype threat problems in standardized tests, they tend to achieve higher scores. Thus, informing women about stereotype threat may be a useful intervention to improve their performance in a threatening testing situation. This is also known as a stereotype threat mitigation. The main study that supports these findings comes from two well-known professionals on Education known as Claude Steele and Steve Spencer.
With this test, one group from each gender would be given the test with an intro sentence. The other group within each gender would not be given this sentence. The sentence itself stated: The results were as follows: But among participants who were given the intro sentence that stated the test did not show gender differences, where the women were free of confirming anything about being a woman, woman performed at the same high level as equally skilled men.
Their under-performance was eliminated. Results showed that women performed worse than men when the problems were described as a math test where the stereotype threat was not discussed , but did not differ from men in the problem-solving condition or the men that learned about stereotype threat.
For the women in the teaching-intervention condition in which they learned about the threat, they indeed had a greater overall performance than the women without this treatment.
African American, Hispanic, and Native American students, on average, perform an order of one standard deviation lower on the SAT than white and Asian students. Researchers believe that the difference in scores is closely related to the overall achievement gap in American society between students of different racial groups.
This gap may be explainable in part by the fact that students of disadvantaged racial groups tend to go to schools that provide lower educational quality.
This view is supported by evidence that the black-white gap is higher in cities and neighborhoods that are more racially segregated. For example, African Americans perform worse on a test when they are told that the test measures "verbal reasoning ability", than when no mention of the test subject is made.
John Ogbu , a Nigerian-American professor of anthropology, found that instead of looking to their parents as role models, black youth chose other models like rappers and did not put forth the effort to be a good student. One set of studies has reported differential item functioning — namely, some test questions function differently based on the racial group of the test taker, reflecting some kind of systematic difference in a groups ability to understand certain test questions or to acquire the knowledge required to answer them.
In Freedle published data showing that Black students have had a slight advantage on the verbal questions that are labeled as difficult on the SAT, whereas white and Asian students tended to have a slight advantage on questions labeled as easy. Freedle argued that these findings suggest that "easy" test items use vocabulary that is easier to understand for white middle class students than for minorities, who often use a different language in the home environment, whereas the difficult items use complex language learned only through lectures and textbooks, giving both student groups equal opportunities to acquiring it.
There is no evidence that SAT scores systematically underestimate future performance of minority students. However, the predictive validity of the SAT has been shown to depend on the dominant ethnic and racial composition of the college. Christopher Jencks concludes that as a group African Americans have been harmed by the introduction of standardized entrance exams such as the SAT.
This, according to him, is not because the tests themselves are flawed, but because of labeling bias and selection bias; the tests measure the skills that African Americans are less likely to develop in their socialization, rather than the skills they are more likely to develop.
Furthermore, standardized entrance exams are often labeled as tests of general ability, rather than of certain aspects of ability. Thus, a situation is produced in which African American ability is consistently underestimated within the education and workplace environments, contributing in turn to selection bias against them which exacerbates underachievement. In the s and s there was a movement to drop achievement scores. After a period of time, the countries, states and provinces that reintroduced them agreed that academic standards had dropped, students had studied less, and had taken their studying less seriously.
They reintroduced the tests after studies and research concluded that the high-stakes tests produced benefits that outweighed the costs. Atkinson , the president of the University of California , urged dropping the SAT as a college admissions requirement:.
Anyone involved in education should be concerned about how overemphasis on the SAT is distorting educational priorities and practices, how the test is perceived by many as unfair, and how it can have a devastating impact on the self-esteem and aspirations of young students.
There is widespread agreement that overemphasis on the SAT harms American education. Even now, no firm conclusions can be reached regarding the SAT's usefulness in the admissions process.
It may or may not be biased, and it may or may not serve as a check on grade inflation in secondary schools. Frey and Detterman investigated associations of SAT scores with intelligence test scores. Additionally, they investigated the correlation between SAT results, using the revised and recentered form of the test, and scores on the Raven's Advanced Progressive Matrices , a test of fluid intelligence reasoning , this time using a non-random sample.
They estimated that this latter correlation would have been about 0. SAT preparation is a highly lucrative field. The test preparation industry began almost simultaneously with the introduction of university entrance exams in the U. The College Board maintains that the SAT is essentially uncoachable and research by the College Board and the National Association of College Admission Counseling suggests that tutoring courses result in an average increase of about 20 points on the math section and 10 points on the verbal section.
Montgomery and Lilly performed a systematic literature review of all published SAT coaching research in search of high quality studies defined as those with randomized controlled trials.
The Johnson San Francisco study was also the only high quality study found on a prep course of 30 hours or more in length, although validity of this outlier study is uncertain due to the attrition of half the participants.
Certain high IQ societies , like Mensa , the Prometheus Society and the Triple Nine Society , use scores from certain years as one of their admission tests.
For instance, the Triple Nine Society accepts scores verbal and math combined of or greater on SAT tests taken before April , and scores of at least on tests taken between April and February After studying over 50 graded essays, he found that longer essays consistently produced higher scores.
He also discovered that several of these essays were full of factual errors; the College Board does not claim to grade for factual accuracy.
Perelman, along with the National Council of Teachers of English also criticized the minute writing section of the test for damaging standards of writing teaching in the classroom. They say that writing teachers training their students for the SAT will not focus on revision, depth, accuracy, but will instead produce long, formulaic, and wordy pieces.
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Retrieved September 30, Retrieved October 13, Retrieved June 6, Retrieved 20 July Rowman and Littlefield Publishers. This broke the once tight link between academic coursework and college admission, a break that remains to this day. The New York Times. Retrieved May 14, Retrieved January 7, Retrieved June 22, Retrieved August 16, Retrieved January 29, Archived from the original PDF on January 6, Retrieved September 26, Retrieved 16 August Retrieved 19 August Retrieved April 5, Retrieved April 6, Retrieved April 7, Retrieved April 2, Archived from the original on April 3, Retrieved April 3, Retrieved August 24, Retrieved September 9, Retrieved July 22, Archived from the original on Archived from the original PDF on June 14, Retrieved May 29, Retrieved June 19, Retrieved 18 Mar College Entrance Examination Board.
Retrieved May 5, The University of Chicago Press. I Bill History and Timeline". Retrieved 28 July Its First Fifty Years. Retrieved 28 Mar Archived from the original PDF on October 18, Retrieved June 24, Secrets of the SAT. Retrieved October 20, Retrieved June 1, Retrieved May 30, Available at the Education Resources Information Center.
Literacy in the United States. Brings Same Old Anxiety". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved May 23, Archived from the original PDF on July 14, Retrieved June 4, Retrieved June 21, Archived from the original on September 1, Retrieved June 29, Archived from the original on July 21, Retrieved March 7, Archived from the original on 9 October Retrieved July 3, The Chronicle of Higher Education. Archived from the original on September 30, Retrieved August 27, Retrieved March 8, The Cornell Daily Sun.
Retrieved February 13, Retrieved March 9, Retrieved May 25, Retrieved July 25, Archived from the original on March 25, Archived from the original on 22 September Retrieved 4 November Archived from the original on 18 October Then students learned the test's answers may have been leaked online".
In the case of the Dockterman article, the author not only mentions the opposite point of view but also takes the time to get a quote from someone who supports the opposing viewpoint.
This even-handedness makes her following claim that "it's not that simple" more believable, since she doesn't appear to be presenting a one-sided argument. In some cases, the clarity with which the author links her evidence and her claims is integral to the author's argument.
Reasoning is the connective tissue that holds an argument together. Explanation of evidence is one of the trickier argument-building techniques to discuss at least in my opinion , because while it is present in many essay prompts, it isn't always a major persuasive feature.
You can pretty easily identify an author's explanation of evidence if the author connects a claim to support and explains it , rather than just throwing out evidence without much ceremony or linking to the claim; however, whether or not the explanation of the evidence is a major contributing factor to the author's argument is somewhat subjective. Here's a pretty clear instance of a case where an author uses explanations of each piece of evidence she discusses to logically advance her argument again from the Dockterman passage:.
Unfortunately, the explanation the Official SAT Study Guide gives for how to discuss an author's "reasoning" is a little vague:. You may decide to discuss how the author uses or fails to use clear, logical reasoning to draw a connection between a claim and the evidence supporting that claim.
But how exactly you should go about doing this? And wh y is it persuasive to clearly explain the link between evidence and claim? In the Dockterman example above, the author clearly lays out data Civilization leads to improvements in history class , a claim this is because of engagement with the game and thus the subject material , provides data that back up that claim retention rate skyrockets when students do things for themselves , and links that smaller claim to a larger concept actively browsing pages on a computer or tablet is way more brain-stimulating than vegging out in front of the TV.
This clear pattern of data-explanation-more data-more explanation enables the reader to follow along with Dockterman's points. It's more persuasive because, rather than just being told " Civilization leads to improvements in history" and having to take it on faith, the reader is forced to reenact the thinking processes that led to the argument, engaging with the topic on a deeper level.
This final category of examples is the top layer of argument building. The foundation of a good argument is evidence, which is often explained and elucidated by reasoning, but it is often the addition of stylistic or persuasive elements like an ironic tone or a rhetorical flourish that seals the deal. Vivid language is truly the icing on the persuasive cake. As with explanations of evidence, vivid language can be found across all topics of essay prompts although it usually plays a larger role when the passage is lacking in more convincing facts or logic.
Here are a couple of examples—the first is Paul Bogard again:. This example is relatively restrained, using the metaphor of "a blanket of light" to add emphasis to Bogard's discussion of light pollution.
Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. If used in moderation, vivid language will also make the topic more interesting for the reader to read, thus engaging them further. In the excerpt taken from Martin Luther King Jr.
If King had left out the second part of the sentence and only said, "Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money," his point would not have had as big of an impact. The last category I'll be discussing in this article are direct addresses and appeals to the reader. These stylistic elements are found across all sorts of different passage topics, although as with the previous category, these elements usually play a larger role when the passage is light on facts or logic.
Direct addresses and appeals to the reader are wordings or other stylistic devices specifically designed to provoke a response often emotional in the reader.
This category covers many different elements, from appeals to emotion to rhetorical questions. Here's an example of an appeal to emotion, taken again from Martin Luther King, Jr. Perhaps a more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population.
Who knows what this vision of the night sky might inspire in each of us, in our children or grandchildren? Appealing to the emotions , as Martin Luther King, Jr. By describing how the war was causing "their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and die," King reminds the reader of the terrible costs of war, playing upon their emotions to get them to agree that the Vietnam War is a mistake, particularly for the poor. Rhetorical questions , on the other hand, get the readers to step into the author's world.
By reading and thinking about the author's question, the reader engages with the topic on a deeper level than if the reader were just given a statement of what the author thinks.
This is because the examples themselves are so meaningful and complex that they can be used to discuss a lot of issues. The main point is, you don't have to wait until you see the prompt to develop an arsenal of types of argument-building techniques you can use to support your points.
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Explore new SAT essay prompts and examples representative of what students will encounter on test day and illustrating the changes being made to the SAT Essay.
In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the 11 real SAT essay prompts that the CollegeBoard has released (either in The Official SAT Study Guide or separately online) for the new SAT. This is the most comprehensive set of new SAT essay prompts online today.
SAT Essay Topics Our essay topics have been closely modeled on those in the SAT. You can also do the essays given in the first section of each of the tests in the Official Study Guide. The new SAT essay is optional. In 50 minutes, you'll be required to read a text and write a logical, well-constructed analysis of the author's argument.
The education people receive does not occur primarily in school. Young people are formed by their experiences with parents, teachers, peers, and even strangers on the street, and by the sports teams they play for, the shopping malls they frequent, the songs they hear, and the shows they watch. Each SAT Essay consists of one passage between and words that you will read and then respond to. You will have 50 minutes to complete the SAT Essay. The purpose of the new SAT Essay is to assess your ability to analyze an author’s argument.