Admissions standards are set to change after high school students begin taking a revised version of the SAT in spring 2016.
The essay portion of the test will be optional after the changes are implemented. Students will be able to take the exam on paper or on a computer, and the test will be scored on a scale of 1600 points instead of the current 2400. Previously, the SAT was a standardized test, but it will now coincide with current coursework and curriculum students are being taught in school.
“Instead of it being just a generic test, it will be more equivalent to what the students are studying within high school,” said a College Board representative whose name has been withheld for security reasons.
The redesigned test will not launch until spring 2016 and will not have any immediate impacts on the current admissions process for the 2014 and 2015 fall semesters, said Michael Heintze, associate vice president of Enrollment Management. It remains unclear if the revisions will make an impact on enrollment.
The College Board will provide public and private universities with information on which scores compare to the ones currently accepted, Heintze said.
Concordance tables will help officials determine the equivalency of current scores to the new grading system, said Stephanie Anderson, associate vice president of Enrollment Management and director of Undergraduate Admissions.
The concordance tables will be used in a “systematic fashion,” Heintze said. Changes to the SAT that will impact admission standards are not new, he said.
“The SAT and ACT have gone through revisions periodically in past years, and this is not anything particularly unusual,” Heintze said. “This has been a discussion item at the national level for about a year.”
College Board officials are still redesigning the test, Anderson said. The test is not yet finished, so officials cannot look at it to determine any changes to admission processes, she said.
“College Board will do extensive research, validity testing, etcetera to give us an idea of continued predictability and validity,” Anderson said.
College Board officials have not confirmed exactly how the test will look and operate, said the College Board representative.
“It’s a process,” the representative said.
University officials will look at how the revised SAT will relate to current use and admission requirements, Anderson said.
“We’re active members in the College Board, and Texas State will work with the College Board as they give us more information as to changes in the test to determine if there will be any changes in Texas State requirements,” Anderson said.
Anderson said she does not anticipate any changes will need to be made to requirements.
When changes are made, the testing agency provides concordance information to “bridge the gap” and covert older scores for those who took the test before 2016, Heintze said.
The test is currently being revised and work on the changes has been “going on for some time,” Heintze said.
Anderson said “the changes make sense” after hearing rationale from the CEO of the College Board.
“I do believe that these changes will help make the test continue to be relevant,” Anderson said. “I don’t anticipate us making any changes that aren’t just referencing the new scale.”