Key Release Dates Remain Distant For Redesigned SAT
In its forums and presentations to higher education representatives, the College Board has been presenting the timeline for the release of its redesigned SAT as follows: in May, we’ll see 4 redesigned tests in physical form, with 4 additional tests released through the Khan Academy website for the remainder of 2015. With that information, those interested in the changing test have viewed May as a sort of D-day, when the elusive test would finally be revealed in all of its glory, in a variety of iterations. While the College Board will provide an “unprecedented view” of the SAT, the results leave much to be desired.
June is the new May
Speaking with a College Board representative yesterday, we learned that May will signal the release of one redesigned practice test through the Khan Academy website. Ten months away from the first redesigned test date, and we will have one full-length redesigned practice test. The study guide with four practice tests will be available in June. According to Amazon, the release date is June 30.
The College Board also confirmed that it intends to use student performance on this test to create its conversion tables, informing students how their raw scores (number of questions correct per section) convert to the 200 to 800 scale. This information will go towards the promised June/July conversion tables available, again, on the Khan Academy website. Students will likely take a practice test online and then be provided with a score range based on their performance. The study guide will most likely not have conversion tables for its tests; instead, students will only know how many questions they answered correctly.
This clarification only heightens our concern about the College Board’s ability to provide its students with the appropriate materials in time to prepare for the redesigned test. Without accurate conversion tables, not to mention concordance tables* (comparing the redesigned SAT with the ACT), students will be hard-pressed to assess their performance on either this May practice test or the study guide tests.
*UPDATE 6/14/2018: ACT, Inc and the College Board have released updated concordance numbers. The newest numbers tell students who score above a 1250 on the SAT that their equivalent ACT score is about 1 point higher than was communicated in 2016’s tables.
Furthermore, it is worth noting that the College Board believes that it can use the student data it derives from Khan Academy to formulate even approximate score ranges. We strongly doubt that students taking the practice tests online will be operating under realistic testing conditions, which would be necessary if the College Board wished to make any prediction of student performance on the March 2016 test.
The current timeline
Currently, the College Board plans to release one online test in May, four practice tests in study guide form in late-June, and conversion tables in June/July. Until students can put their performance on a 200 to 800 scale, their raw scores will be virtually meaningless – unless they get a perfect score. Everyone will be grasping at straws to interpret these numbers, and no one will be able to say what number is “good enough.”
In an ideal world, testing begins for juniors during the summer or early fall and finishes in the spring. The College Board is forcing current sophomores to push their test prep back to the spring, terminating in the fall of their senior year. Such a timeline can only add stress for students and parents, who have enough on their plate as seniors to be worrying about whether or not they can reach their SAT score goals.
Current SAT and ACT look even more appealing
Students have two other options to all of this uncertainty afforded by the College Board: the current SAT or the ACT. A student wishing to start prepping this summer will immediately find 5 real practice ACTs and 10 current practice SATs. Equally important are the scoring tables that accompany these tests. For the class of 2017, there is no need to be the guinea pig for the College Board; take a practice SAT or ACT, decide which path to take, and get started!