## Why SAT Math Problems are So Wordy

In a series investigating various aspects of the SAT, Reuters reported on issues related to excessively wordy math problems, specifically how time-consuming such questions were. Research suggested that traditionally low performing test takers were dramatically disadvantaged by the profusion of text-heavy word problems. The College Board ignored this research when redesigning the SAT Math section, but the president of the College Board recently admitted to this and various other errors. On the topic of SAT Math, David Coleman promised, “We are going to do everything we can to further simplify the mathematics section,” and further added, “Every extra word should go. Complex, distracting situations should go.” But does the future really hold streamlined, easily understood SAT math problems? Probably not. The way math is tested on the SAT and ACT differs dramatically from how math is traditionally tested in school. Conventional math education focuses on teaching specific topics sequentially, then…

## Only a Third of Teens Ready for College

For a growing number of our nation’s teens, the question is never, “Am I ready to go to college?” Rather, they ask, “How soon can I get there?!” But the first question deserves further consideration. Since 2003, the twelfth-grade mathematics and reading assessments from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) have been used as an indicator of students’ academic preparedness for college. According to the 2015 data released in The Nation’s Report Card, only 37% of twelfth-graders met the standard for success in mathematics or reading. Even more troubling, the percents of students meeting preparedness standards are down across the board from last year. College readiness is no joke. Students who arrive at school with deficient math, reading, and writing skills face a higher likelihood of struggle and failure. Even the ones who don’t drop out are forced to take remedial no-credit classes, which extends the already pricey proposition…

## Why Did the SAT Add a No-Calculator Math Section?

The College Board has raised a lot of eyebrows–and anxiety–with the SAT revisions being rolled out in March 2016. While the wisdom of most of the changes can be debated, one new policy seems almost indefensible: the new SAT will include a No-Calculator Math section. If the implications of this addition are unclear, this means that every SAT will include 20 questions (15 Multiple-Choice and 5 Student-Produced Responses) to be completed in 25 minutes entirely without the use of a calculator. Yes, the Math section will also serve up 38 math questions that permit calculator support, but teens today are used to using their calculators for EVERYTHING. With the SAT already losing ground to the other college admissions test in town, why would the College Board make a decision almost guaranteed to drive students into the proverbial arms of the ACT? According to the College Board, this change is in…

## Are Accommodations Available for the No Calculator Section of the PSAT?

The College Board will be leading us all through a lot of unexplored territory with the major upcoming revision to the SAT. Luckily for them, though perhaps unluckily for some high school students, the October PSAT will provide a much-needed test run. Since the next PSAT will be delivered in the new format, students will have to contend with unfamiliar question types and rules. Correspondingly, the College Board is receiving questions it hasn’t heard before… “Can a student with a math learning disability receive an accommodation to use a calculator on the new No Calculator Math section?” Variations of this question are sure to make up the most common accommodations question for the new PSAT and SAT. Unfortunately, as of the moment of publication of this article, the test maker hasn’t released much information on the issue. Fortunately, though, I called and queried a representative from the College…

## Meet The New SAT: MATH

For those in the know, SAT Math has never really been about the math. Of course, the SAT has always tested math concepts ranging from basic arithmetic to higher level algebra and arithmetic. But the math section of the SAT really challenges problem solving ability, creativity, and logic. Thus, students with excellent grades in math classes at school often earn merely average SAT Math scores because they lack the conceptual understanding to solve tricky test problems. The redesigned SAT maintains that commitment to prioritizing math manipulation over calculation, but also shuffles the content portfolio to emphasize linear equations and trigonometry at the expense of basic geometry. The College Board claims the redesigned SAT will require a stronger command of fewer, more important topics, but the list of topics across four functional areas tested still seems pretty deep: Heart of Algebra (33%) Linear equations, inequalities, and systems; linear functions; graphing equations…