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Nation/World

April 17, 2014

New SAT: What will those questions look like?

(Continued)

In the sample question pertaining to the U.S. traveler in India, the test taker must first determine what foreign exchange rate the traveler paid. Then, calculate charges on a prepaid card compared to a Traveler card.

In the sample question related to a political candidate, the test taker must first determine from a table which age group had the greatest number of people reporting they had voted. Then, compare the table to another survey to determine which of four statements about voter turnout is correct.

Cynthia Schmeiser, the College Board’s chief of assessment, told reporters that reasoning is still an important component of the SAT, but it will be done in “applied contexts.” She said there will be commonalities between the redesigned SAT and the Common Core standards being rolled out in most states, which emphasize critical thinking in English and math in the K-12 setting.

“What we’re doing here is trying to distinguish the SAT in many important ways from the current SAT and frankly from other admissions exams to provide the why and the what are the fewer more important things that students need in order to be ready for college and to succeed in college,” Schmeiser said.

The College Board said the sample questions are in draft form and subject to change.

“It is our goal that every student who takes the test will be well informed and will know exactly what to expect on the day of the test,” Schmeiser and College Board President David Coleman said in a letter posted online.

The SAT was last upgraded in 2005, when analogy questions were removed and the essay portion was added.

Once the predominant college admissions exam, the SAT has been overtaken in popularity by the ACT.

The ACT, which already offers an optional essay, announced last year that it would begin making computer-based testing available. It said Monday that about 4,000 high school students had taken a digital version of the ACT two days earlier as part of a pilot.

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