Friday, October 12, 2007

About The SAT

The SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) was created by the College Entrance Examination Board, more commonly referred to as the College Board, in the 1920s. It was first delivered in June of 1926 to just over 8,000 students. In 1927 the test was first scored on the now familiar scale of 200 to 800. By 1930, the SAT had been divided into two sections, the SAT Verbal and SAT Math sections, which have stayed with the test for most of its history. The subject specific Achievement Tests were first introduced by the College Board in April of 1937. In 1947, the Educational Testing Service (ETS) was founded to do research, assessment development, test administration and scoring, and other education related initiatives. The Educational Testing Service has been administering and scoring the SAT ever since. The PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test) was introduced in October of 1959. In the 1970s, through a partnership between the College Board and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, the PSAT was changed into the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). In the 1993/1994 academic year, the College Board introduced a newly designed SAT Program with the SAT Test becoming the SAT I: Reasoning Test and the Achievement Tests becoming the SAT II: Subject Tests. In March of 2005 the "New SAT" was introduced after another significant redesign program. With the introduction of the New SAT, the test names changed to SAT Reasoning Test and SAT Subject Tests.
The SAT, From Modest Beginning to a Major Force

From its modest beginnings in 1927, when just over 8,000 people took the test, the SAT has grown to a record number 1,419,007 test takers in 2004, or 48% of students nationwide In 2004, 53% of SAT test takers were female with average SAT scores of 504 on the SAT verbal section and 501 on the SAT math section. 47% of SAT test takers in 2004 were male with average SAT scores of 512 on the SAT verbal section and 537 on the SAT math section.
SAT, SAT I, SAT Reasoning Test - What's In a Name?

In a little over 10 years there have been two redesigns of the SAT test and several name changes. Enough has changed to possibly lead to some confusion. The SAT Program (referred to as the Admissions Testing Program prior to 1994) is one of the major programs of the College Entrance Examination Board, or College Board. The College Board's other major programs include the PSAT/NMSQT and the Advanced Placement Program (or AP).
The SAT Program includes:

1. The SAT Reasoning Test. This is what most people simply refer to as "the SAT". Prior to 2005 this test was referred to as the SAT I: Reasoning Test. Prior to 1994 it was simply the SAT.
2. The SAT Subject Tests. These can also be referred to simply as "Subject Tests". Prior to 2005 these were referred to as SAT II: Subject Tests. Most parents, and anyone who took the tests prior to 1994, would remember these as Achievement Tests. Subject tests are available in: English, history and social studies, mathematics, science and languages.

The "New SAT"

The New SAT represents the first major redesign of the SAT Program since the 1993/1994 academic year. Introduced in March of 2005, major changes have been made to the SAT Reasoning Test including:

* The addition of a new writing section with a written essay as well as multiple choice questions.
* In the math section, higher-level math, including topics from third-year college prep math courses, is now included.
* A Critical Reading Section (previously known as the verbal section) which includes short and long reading passages. Analogies have been eliminated.

Very little, beyond the name, has changed in the SAT Subject Tests. There is no longer an SAT Subject Test on writing since writing has been added to the SAT Reasoning Test.
The Purpose of the SAT

The SAT Program is designed to facilitate the college admissions process by providing a nationally standardized way of measuring critical thinking skills and knowledge. The intent of the test is to measure how well a student has mastered the skills necessary to be successful in college. Grades alone do not accomplish this because they are not standardized across schools. Standardized tests, such as the SAT, are one of the components used by colleges and universities in their admissions process, along with: a student's grades, high school transcripts, extra-curricular activities, written essays, and, potentially, interviews.

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