Research

Report: Most Parents of College-Bound Students Unaware of Upcoming SAT Changes

With changes to the SAT set to take effect in March 2016, 85 percent of parents with college-bound children are still unaware of the coming update, according to a new survey from Kaplan Test Prep.

"When provided more details about the proposed changes to the SAT, the surveyed parents' opinions about the new format were divided," according to a news release.

Thirty percent of surveyed parents said the changes would make the test harder or otherwise responded negatively. Thirty percent said the changes were positive. Twenty percent said they were indifferent, and 15 percent said they still didn't have enough information to form an opinion.

"However, views on specific changes reveal that a majority of parents believe the new SAT will be harder," according to information released by Kaplan.

Fifty-six percent of respondents said that changes to the math portion that will only allow calculators to be used on one of two sections will make the math part of the test harder. Eighteen percent said it will be easier and 26 percent said it will make no difference.

The current reading portion of the test includes three sections that are 20-25 minutes long that cover sentence completions and questions about long and short passages. The new reading portion will take 65 minutes and will cover comprehension questions about long passages. More than half of respondents, 53 percent, said the new reading section would be harder. Twelve percent said it will be easier and 36 percent said it will make no difference.

Instead of using individual sentence corrections to test writing and grammar skills, as the current SAT does, the new test will use passages and will include questions about structure and comprehension. Fifty-three percent of parents surveyed said this section of the new test would be harder. Thirteen percent told researchers it would be easier and 34 percent said it would make no difference.

The new SAT will do away with the required persuasive essay in favor of an optional fact-based essay about how the author a 650-750 word passage builds his or her argument. A full sixty percent of respondents said the new essay format would make the SAT harder, while 15 percent said it would be easier and 25 percent aid it would make no difference.

The new SAT will eliminate the one-quarter-point penalty for wrong answers, a change that 22 percent of respondents said will make the test harder. Fifty-six percent said it will make the test easier and 23 percent said it won't make a difference.

"It's not surprising that most parents are still unaware of the upcoming SAT changes, as most are understandably focused on other aspects of the college admissions process like tuition, but the time to get all the facts about the test changes is now as test day is quickly approaching," said Lee Weiss, vice president at Kaplan Test Prep, in a prepared statement. "Our survey found that the more parents learn about the new SAT, the more they understand how challenging the content will be for their kids. There is no doubt that the new SAT is more rigorous than the current one."

More information about the SAT is available at collegereadiness.collegeboard.org. Visit kaptest.com for SAT prep resources for the redesigned test.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at jbolkan@gmail.com.

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