The College Board is a not-for-profit membership association whose mission is to connect students to college success and opportunity.
Founded in 1900, the association is composed of more than 4,700 schools, colleges, universities, and other educational organizations. Each year, the College Board serves over three and a half million students and their parents, 23,000 high schools, and 3,500 colleges through major programs and services in college admissions, guidance, assessment, financial aid, enrollment, and teaching and learning. The College Board is committed to the principles of excellence and equity, and that commitment is embodied in all of its programs, services, activities, and concerns.
Long history of Test Development Meeting the Highest Professional Standards
College Board tests (SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, AP) are some of the most widely and rigorously researched tests in the world. The new SAT will continue to uphold these high standards.
The SAT maintains longitudinal school, state, and regional trend data.
The College Board and its contractors adhere to the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing and the Code of Fair Testing Practices in Education.
What the new SAT Measures Focus on College Success Skills
The SAT is a test of developed reasoning ability in mathematics, critical reading, and writing, assessing students’ reasoning based on knowledge and skills developed through their coursework. The SAT measures the students’ ability to apply what they have learned in school to analyze and solve problems as they would in college.
How the Specifications for the New SAT Were Developed
The changes to the test are based on research and are responsive to changes in what is considered good instructional practice.
Curriculum surveys were conducted with high school and college faculty from across the country to assess the knowledge and skills that are being taught in high school and that are necessary for success in college.
Test development committees, made up of high school and college faculty who teach courses in English, writing and mathematics, used the survey results to develop test specifications.
The New SAT Critical Reading Section
Test questions assess students’ knowledge of the meaning of words, their ability to understand how different parts of a sentence go together, and their ability to read and think carefully about passages ranging in length from about 100 to about 850 words.
The following kinds of questions may be asked: vocabulary in context; literal comprehension; and extended reasoning (identifying cause and effect, making inferences, recognizing a main idea or an author’s tone, following the logic of an analogy or an argument). Most of the questions on the test assess extended reasoning.
The new SAT math section will remain primarily a math reasoning test, but the math content will be expanded to include topics such as exponential growth, absolute value, and negative and fractional exponents. Functional notation will also be introduced, and greater emphasis will be placed on other topics such as graphs of linear functions and scatterplots.
The SAT math section is unique in that it contains student-produced response items that are not multiple choice. These items require a student to solve the problem and fill in the answer on a grid provided on the answer sheet. The SAT math section also provides basic mathematical formulae in the test booklets.
The New SAT Math Section Example of a student-produced response item requiring critical thinking skills
In the figure above, three adjacent squares each have one side on the x-axis. If vertices A, B, and C lie on the line l, and the squares have sides of lengths 2, 3, and t, respectively, what is the value of t?
Note: Figure not drawn to scale.
The New SAT Writing Section
The new SAT writing section consists of two parts: a multiple-choice section and an essay.
The multiple-choice questions measure students’ ability to recognize and correct faults in usage and sentence structure and to recognize effective sentences that follow the conventions of standard written English.
The essay assesses students’ ability to think critically and to write effectively under time constraints similar to those they will encounter on essay examinations in college.
Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below.
The principle is this: each failure leads us closer to deeper knowledge, to greater creativity in understanding old data, to new lines of inquiry. Thomas Edison experienced 10,000 failures before he succeeded in perfecting the light bulb. When a friend of his remarked that 10,000 failures was a lot, Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 10,000 times, I successfully eliminated 10,000 materials and combinations that didn’t work.”
Miles Brand, “Taking the Measure of Your Success”
Assignment: What is your view on the idea that it takes failure to achieve success? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.
New SAT Writing Section Reader Qualifications
Readers for the new SAT Writing Section must:
Hold a bachelor's degree or higher
Teach or have taught within the last five years a high school or college-level course that requires writing
Have taught for at least a three-year period
Reside in the continental United States, Alaska, or Hawaii
Be a U.S. citizen, resident alien, or authorized to work in the U.S.
New SAT Writing Section Reader Qualifications
Of the current reader pool:
42% teach high school and 58% teach at the post-secondary level
30% have 3-5 years teaching experience
26% have 6-10 years teaching experience
44% have 11 or more years teaching experience
76% have Masters degree or doctorate
71% have English/Language Arts as their primary instructional area
The Michigan Merit Examination
Should assess students’ knowledge of English language arts, mathematics, reading, and science with an instrument used by colleges and universities in Michigan for entrance or placement purposes.
Should assess students’ ability to apply reading and math skills in a manner intended to allow employers to use the results in making employment decisions.
Serves to qualify students for a Michigan merit scholarship.
Should meet state accountability plans.
College Board Solution for the Michigan Merit Examination
Depending on the State of Michigan’s needs, the College Board would be willing to help it develop the augmentation needed to supplement the SAT. The College Board could work with experts and stakeholders in Michigan to develop the augmented test.
The Board used this approach in designing the Maryland high school exit examinations, and in designing the new SAT Reasoning Test, the SAT Subject Tests, the AP exams, and SpringBoard, our 6-12 curriculum, professional development, and assessment system.
Developing the Augmentation Test
The Board could work collaboratively with test development committees of Michigan high school teachers, college faculty, and developmental and content experts to develop the content and test specifications.
The Board would also work with these groups to develop scoring plans, rubrics, items, and score reports.
College Board Statewide Adoptions and Other Relevant Experience
The PSAT/NMSQT is administered state-wide in Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, Indiana, Maine and Rhode Island, and there is district-wide testing in over 100 school districts (e.g., Philadelphia, Anne Arundel County, Charlotte-Mecklenburg)
Nine state pay AP test fees for all students, regardless of need, with another two states planning on doing the same in the near future.
College Board helped developed the test specifications for the Maryland High School Exit Examinations.
College Board led the effort to conduct alignments between state math curricula for the Southern Regional Education Board, and designed options for developing cross-state math curricula, assessments, and professional development.
The College Board has partnered with the state of Florida for many years now to provide support, through its programs and services, to connect more students to college and success.