A sneak peek at the new SAT, due in 2016, includes sample questions.
After reading part of a 1974 speech by Rep. Barbara Jordan during the Nixon impeachment hearings, test takers must “describe Jordan’s stance and the main rhetorical effect of a part of the passage,” reports AP.
Another sample question asks test takers to calculate what it would cost an American traveling in India to convert dollars to rupees. Another question requires students to use the findings of a political survey to answer questions.
Instead of “obscure words,” the new test will focus on “high utility” words tested in context, reports the New York Times.
For example, a question based on a passage about an artist who “vacated” from a tradition of landscape painting, asks whether it would be better to substitute the word “evacuated,” “departed” or “retired,” or to leave the sentence unchanged. (The right answer is “departed.”)
The new SAT won’t reward students who memorize vocabulary words, reports Time.
Here is an example of a old-style SAT question that students will not be seeing:
There is no doubt that Larry is a genuine ——- : he excels at telling stories that fascinate his listeners.
Instead, students will be asked to figure out the meaning of a word from the context:
[. . .] The coming decades will likely see more intense clustering of jobs, innovation, and productivity in a smaller number of bigger cities and city-regions. Some regions could end up bloated beyond the capacity of their infrastructure, while others struggle, their promise stymied by inadequate human or other resources.
As used in line 55, “intense” most nearly means
Testing words in context penalizes the studious and helps the privileged, responds Ann Althouse. Working-class achievers can “study lists of difficult vocabulary words and tricks about how to figure out the meaning,” but will find it harder to study words in context. The children of educated, articulate parents learn vocabulary through conversation. “The way words appear in context is, for them, deeply ingrained, easy, and natural.”
She wonders if the goal is “to disadvantage the overachieving, drudge-like student.”
Overachieving drudges as in Asian-Americans?