The SAT is undergoing a major redesign, ending its longstanding reliance on knowledge of obscure vocabulary words as well as the penalty for guessing wrong, and removing the essay requirement added in 2005. It is returning to the old 1,600-point scale and reinstating the bragging rights of generations of parents who found their high scores reduced to apparent mediocrity when an additional 800 points were tacked onto the exam taken by their children.
The redesign is intended to align the test with what students learn in high school — now, in most states, based on a set of standards known as the Common Core—eliminating the need for and benefits of expensive and time-consuming prep for a test that seemed to measure nothing so much as a student’s preparation for the test. For students whose schooling might not give them the access to solid instruction and a meaningful education on those basics, the College Board, which administers the SAT, will form a partnership with the educational website Khan Academy to offer free online courses designed to help students to learn and prepare in the areas the test examines. <Read more.>