Kaplan asked 403 admissions officers from top schools and 684 high school students their opinions on the new SAT. Survey results show that the admissions officers are more supportive of the changes than the college applicants. 79% of officers support the changes, up from 72% last year. Big changes include reverting back to the 1600 point scale; adding historical reading passages; making math sections more difficult; shifting the essay from required to optional; getting rid of wrong answer penalties; eliminating fill-in-the-blank vocabulary questions; and adding a computer-based test taking option.
Here are some highlights from the results:
• 87% of admissions officers and 67% of students support the inclusion of history-related reading passage.
• 71% of admissions officers support the inclusion of calculator-forbidden math questions, compared to the support of only 47% of students. (On the new exam, calculators won’t be allowed for 20 of the 57 math questions – currently calculators are permitted for the entire exam.)
• 67% of admissions officers support shifting the essay from required to optional, compared to 51% of students. Additionally, 73% of admissions officers say they don’t plan to require applicants to submit the essay.
• 70% of admissions officers and 73% of students support getting rid of the wrong answer penalty.
• 88% of admissions officers and 85% of students support the elimination of fill-in-the-blank vocabulary questions. Instead of these question, the SAT will include more contextual vocab questions, as well as editing write-in sections.
• 82% of admissions members support the option of taking the SAT on a computer. This is compared to only 36% of students surveyed. Students report concern about staring at a computer screen for four hours, encountering technical difficulties, and not having space for “scratch work” for math questions.
See the Kaplan press release for more details.