SAT History - The evolution of the SAT
The SAT: you know the role that the test plays in the college admissions process, but you may not know the history of this exam. Interested in learning about the SAT's history? Read on!
Did you know that what began as a series of Army IQ tests eventually evolved into what is now known as the SAT? In the early 1900s, many of the country's leading universities and colleges sought a way to standardize the admissions process. Though the first College Boards were administered in 1901, the invention of the IQ test in 1905 and the results of IQ tests administered to Army recruits during World War I prompted the College Entrance Examination Board to explore how these tests could be adapted for use in the college admissions process. In 1926 the first group of high school students took the SAT, beginning a rite of passage that continues to this day.
Though the SAT has gone through several format changes over the years, the most recent changes occurred in 2005. The changes, designed in part to address critics who felt the exam was neither an accurate reflection of student knowledge nor a good predictor of college preparedness, included the elimination of analogy and quantitative comparison questions and the addition of short reading comprehension passages, higher-level math concepts, and a Writing section. Additionally, the test length increased to 3 hours and 45 minutes (not including breaks), and a perfect score changed from a 1600 to a 2400. Recently, the College Board announced they will be making additional changes to the SAT, and administration of the new test will begin in March of 2016. Learn more about the new test here.
In 2009 the College Board rolled out its new score reporting policy to include Score Choice. This policy change allows students to pick and choose which scores to send to colleges, giving students more control over how and when colleges receive their scores. While students now have the choice to submit their best SAT scores, some popular colleges and universities, such as Cornell, still ask that students send all test scores. You can find a full list of college score-use practices on the College Board website.
More than two million students take the SAT each year, and though a growing number of colleges and universities have made the submission of standardized test scores optional for applicants, the vast majority of schools still require and utilize these scores as part of the admissions process.
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