As the SAT, the standardized test used in the college admission process run by the College Board, undergoes massive changes and a drastic reformatting, there is a global response to understanding these changes and how they will impact the college admissions process in the United States and internationally.
In order to help administrators and students in the UAE understand the changes to the test, Vice President of US-based testing preparation service, the Princeton Review, Michael Gamerl presented a special seminar for school administrators in the UAE. The seminar titled, “The School Counselor’s Toolkit for Re-Designed SAT,” took place throughout the country in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Dubai on November 15th and November 16th, 2015. While the new SAT was released this month, it will not be offered for first time in UAE until May 2016. This gives administrators in the UAE time to properly prepare UAE students for the new version.
The SAT has gone through minor tweaks and changes over the year, but Gamerl, a 25-year veteran on working with the SAT, stated that this redesign is the most substantial change that he has seen. Much of the seminar was focused on the differences on the new SAT format and how students will be affected by the redesigned version of the SAT. For example, the new SAT has an increased focus on advanced math, punctuation, and reading comprehension. To help administrators understand these changes, Gamerl provided them with sample questions from the new SAT and compared the new SAT to its college admission test counterpart, the ACT. He stated that the new SAT is similar to the ACT, but more difficult. The new similarities between these two tests now include that there will be no penalty for answers that are incorrect, there will only be four answer choices per question.
UAE educators who were in attendance also raised concerns regarding the new scoring system. The new test will scored on a scale of 400 to 1,600 as opposed from 600 to 2,400. Many questions circulated about how this new scoring will correlated with the old scores. Gamerl assured them that the College Board will release a concordance chart to help students as well as colleges compare the scores of the new SAT, the old SAT and the ACT.
There is no doubt that the new version of the SAT will impact the college admission testing process, but through global educational collaboration, such as between the United States and the United Arab Emirates, educators can work together to ensure that students will be properly prepared to succeed on these tests.