Test Specificationsfor theRedesigned SAT

T H E R E D E S I G N E D S ATThe College BoardThe College Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization thatconnects students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900,the College Board was created to expand access to higher education.Today, the membership association is made up of over 6,000 of theworld’s leading education institutions and is dedicated to promotingexcellence and equity in education. Each year, the College Board helpsmore than seven million students prepare for a successful transition tocollege through programs and services in college readiness and collegesuccess — including the sat and the Advanced Placement Program .The organization also serves the education community through researchand advocacy on behalf of students, educators, and schools.For further information, visit 2015 The College Board. College Board, Advanced Placement Program, AP, SAT, and the acorn logo areregistered trademarks of the College Board. PSAT/NMSQT is a registered trademark of the College Board andNational Merit Scholarship Corporation. All other products and services may be trademarks of their respectiveowners. Visit the College Board on the Web: 022

T H E R E D E S I G N E D S AT2991416171921222325253339section i Behind the RedesignLinking Assessment and InstructionThe Story Behind the Redesigned sat Principles Driving the RedesignHigh-Level Design Changes for the satScores Reported by the Redesigned satThe Redesigned sat Score SummaryConcordanceSummarysection iiThe Redesigned sat: Evidentiary FoundationEvidentiary Foundation for the Redesigned sat’s EvidenceBased Reading and Writing Tests and EssayEvidentiary Foundation for the Redesigned sat’s Math TestSummary41section iii Test Specifications: sat Evidence-BasedReading and Writing and sat Essay4141444655575962657072738182A Transparent Blueprintsat Reading TestTest SummaryKey FeaturesLower Text Complexity ExampleHigher Text Complexity Examplesat Writing and Language TestTest SummaryKey Featuressat Essay (Optional Component)Test SummaryKey FeaturesSummary828998103105107114iExecutive SummaryAppendix B: Sample Test Materials: Reading,Writing and Language, and EssaySample Reading Set 1Sample Reading Set 2Sample Reading Set 3Lower Text Complexity ExampleHigher Text Complexity ExampleSample Writing and Language Set 1Sample Writing and Language Set 2

T H E R E D E S I G N E D S AT120126Sample Essay Prompt 1Sample Essay Prompt 2132132133136section iv Test Specifications: sat Math Test158159159171176181190A Transparent BlueprintTest SummaryDetailed Description of the Content and SkillsMeasured by the sat Math TestSummaryAppendix B: Math Sample QuestionsSample Questions: Heart of AlgebraSample Questions: Problem Solving and Data AnalysisSample Problem SetSample Questions: Passport to Advanced MathSample Questions: Additional Topics in Math196section v Our Commitment198199200201Guiding PrinciplesThe Development Process for the Redesigned satThe Test Development Processiiappendix a The Craft of Developing the sat: How We Do It

T H E R E D E S I G N E D S AT»E X E C U T I V E S U M M A RYExecutive SummarySECTION IBehind the RedesignSECTION IIThe Redesigned SAT: Evidentiary FoundationSECTION IIITest Specifications: SAT Evidence-Based Readingand Writing and SAT EssaySECTION IVTest Specifications: SAT Math TestSECTION VOur CommitmentAPPENDIX AThe Craft of Developing the SAT: How We Do It

T H E R E D E S I G N E D S AT»E X E C U T I V E S U M M A RYExecutive SummaryThe sat is the College Board’s flagship college and career readinessassessment. For nearly a century, it has been used successfully worldwidein combination with factors such as high school gpa to assess studentpreparedness for and to predict student success in postsecondaryeducation. Each year the sat is taken by more than 1.6 million studentsand used by thousands of high school counselors and postsecondaryadmission officers around the world.Recent sat results tell a troubling story about students’ readiness andlikelihood for success in their postsecondary endeavors. Notably,57 percent of sat takers in the 2013 cohort lacked the academic skills tosucceed in college-entry, credit-bearing courses without remediation inat least one subject, and the success rates for such remediation leadingto postsecondary completion are far too low. At the same time, thenature of life and work in the United States has transformed to the pointwhere at least some degree of postsecondary education or training isincreasingly required for access to middle-class jobs. In short, far too fewstudents are ready to succeed in the kinds of education and training thatthey will need to participate effectively in an increasingly competitiveeconomy — a circumstance that represents a tragedy for thoseindividuals whose potential isn’t being realized and a serious threat tothe nation’s economy and democracy.Recognizing that it can and must do more to help all students not onlybe ready for college and workforce training programs but also succeedin them, the College Board is committing to an opportunity agenda thatis focused on propelling students into opportunities they have earned inhigh school. One of the major components of this agenda has been theredesign of the sat.Drawing on extensive input and advice from its members, its partnerorganizations (such as the National Merit Scholarship Corporation,which cosponsors the psat/nmsqt ), and postsecondary and k–12experts, the College Board determined that the sat needed to meetthree challenges. First, the test must provide to higher education a morecomprehensive and informative picture of student readiness for collegelevel work while sustaining, and ideally improving, the ability of the testto predict college success. Second, the test must become more clearly2The Redesigned SATThis document is part of an ongoingseries of materials describing theredesign of the sat being undertakenby the College Board. This initialrelease is intended to offer readersa detailed overview of the rationalefor and the aims and nature of theredesign, as well as informationabout key elements of the variouscomponents comprising the new test.Subsequent releases in the series willprovide additional information forvarious audiences on specific topicsrelated to the redesign.

T H E R E D E S I G N E D S AT»E X E C U T I V E S U M M A RYand transparently focused on the knowledge, skills, and understandingsthat the best available research evidence indicates are essential forcollege and career readiness and success. Third, the test must betterreflect, through its questions and tasks, the kinds of meaningful,engaging, rigorous work that students must undertake in the best highschool courses being taught today, thereby creating a robust and durablebond between assessment and instruction. Undergirding these aims isthe belief that all teachers and students must be empowered to focus onthe real learning of vital knowledge, skills, and understandings throughchallenging, vibrant daily work rather than encouraged to cover vastswaths of material superficially or engage in narrow, short-term testpreparation divorced from real learning. To these ends, the redesignedsat has been designed for greater focus, relevance, and transparencywhile retaining the test’s tradition of being a valuable predictor of collegeand career readiness and success.Based on a wealth of evidence about essential prerequisites for studentsuccess in postsecondary education, the redesigned sat requiresstudents to:» read, analyze, and use reasoning to comprehend challenging literary andinformational texts, including texts on science and history/social studiestopics, to demonstrate and expand their knowledge and understanding;» revise and edit extended texts across a range of academic and careerrelated subjects for expression of ideas and to show facility with a coreset of grammar, usage, and punctuation conventions;» show command of a focused but powerful set of knowledge, skills, andunderstandings in math and apply that ability to solve problems situatedin science, social studies, and career-related contexts;» make careful and considered use of evidence as they read and write;» demonstrate skill in analyzing data, including data representedgraphically in tables, graphs, charts, and the like, in reading, writing, andmath contexts; and» reveal an understanding of relevant words in context and how wordchoice helps shape meaning and tone.The result is a profoundly meaningful assessment that is thoroughlytransparent and aligned to critical high school outcomes and bestinstructional practices.3

T H E R E D E S I G N E D S AT»E X E C U T I V E S U M M A RYAll these changes are firmly grounded in evidence about what is neededfor all students to be ready for and to succeed in college and workforcetraining programs. Research strongly supports the emphasis of theredesigned sat’s English language arts/literacy components on (1) aspecified range of text complexity consistent with college and workforcetraining requirements, (2) source analysis and skilled use of evidence,(3) data in informational graphics, (4) words in context, (5) languageconventions and effective language use more generally, and (6) literacyacross the disciplines. Evidence is equally supportive of the emphasisof the redesigned sat’s math component on (1) a set of essential mathknowledge, skills, and understandings in algebra, advanced topics,and additional topics in math, (2) problem solving and data analysis inaddressing real-life problems (e.g., the ability to create a representationof a problem, consider the units involved, attend to the meaning ofquantities, and know and use different properties of operations andobjects), and (3) using the calculator as a tool, discerning when and whennot to use a calculator to solve problems efficiently, and performingimportant mathematical tasks without a calculator.To assess students’ achievement in these and other areas, the redesigned satis organized into four components: a Reading Test, a Writing and LanguageTest, a Math Test, and an Essay direct-writing task, which is optional.The redesigned sat’s Reading Test is a carefully constructed, challengingassessment of comprehension and reasoning skills with an unmistakablefocus on careful reading of appropriately difficult passages in a wide arrayof subject areas. Passages are authentic texts selected from high-quality,previously published sources. One notable feature of the test is its use oftexts representing a range of complexities to better determine whetherstudents are ready for the reading challenge posed by college courses andworkforce training programs. On each assessment, one passage will bedrawn from a U.S. founding document (a text such as the Declaration ofIndependence, the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights) or a text that is partof the Great Global Conversation (a text such as one by Lincoln or King,or by an author from outside the United States writing on a topic such asfreedom, justice, or liberty). Another feature of the test is its inclusion ofinformational graphics, which students must interpret and/or relate topassage content. Additionally, students must show a command of textualevidence, in part by identifying the portion of a text that serves as the bestevidence for the answer to another question. Students must also determinethe meaning of words and phrases in the context of extended prosepassages and to determine how word choice shapes meaning, tone, andimpact. These words and phrases are neither highly obscure nor specific4

T H E R E D E S I G N E D S AT»E X E C U T I V E S U M M A RYto any one domain; instead, they are widely applicable across disciplines,and their meaning is derived in large part through the context in whichthey are used. Paired passages, an important element of the current sat’sCritical Reading section, remain a consistent part of the redesigned sat’sReading Test.The redesigned sat’s Writing and Language Test is a passage-basedassessment of students’ ability to revise and edit a range of texts ina variety of subject areas — both academic and career related — forexpression of ideas and for conformity to important conventions ofStandard Written English grammar, usage, and punctuation. Passages arewritten specifically for the test so that errors (rhetorical or mechanical)can be introduced into them for students to recognize and correct. TheWriting and Language Test shares with the Reading Test an emphasison informational graphics (which students must consider as they decidehow or whether to revise or edit a text), command of evidence (whichstudents must demonstrate by retaining, adding, revising, or deletinginformation and ideas in a text), and word meanings and rhetoricalword choice. Like the Reading Test, the Writing and Language Testincludes passages across a range of text complexities consistent withmeasuring students’ readiness and likelihood for success in college andworkforce training programs.The redesigned sat’s Essay task is an optional component of the exam.To perform the task, students must read and produce a written analysisof a provided source text. Passages are authentic texts selected fromhigh-quality, previously published sources and generally representportions of arguments written for a broad audience — texts thatexamine in an accessible way ideas, debates, trends, and the like inthe arts, the sciences, and civic, cultural, and political life. In responseto these passages, students must produce a clear and cogent writtenanalysis in which they explain how the author of a text builds anargument to persuade an audience through the use of evidence,reasoning, stylistic and persuasive elements, and/or other features thestudents themselves identify. It is important to note that students arenot asked to offer their own opinion on the topic of the passage but areinstead expected to analyze how the author constructs an argument.The task’s use of a source text is critical because it requires studentsto demonstrate a command of objective textual evidence and anunderstanding of challenging information and ideas; this is in sharpcontrast to assessments that merely ask students to demonstrate thatthey understand the form that evidence should take by supplying theirown unverifiable ideas, experiences, and facts. To make the task clearerand more transparent, its wording remains largely consistent from5

T H E R E D E S I G N E D S AT»E X E C U T I V E S U M M A RYadministration to administration. This allows students to focus theirattention on the unique source text and their analysis of it. Students’responses will be evaluated on the skill they demonstrate in reading,analysis, and writing.The redesigned sat’s Math Test focuses strongly on algebra and devotesparticular attention to the heart of the subject, which research showsis disproportionately important for college and career readiness andsuccess: students’ ability to analyze, fluently solve, and create linearequations and inequalities. Problems within the Heart of Algebracategory of the Math Test may also call for an understanding of solving aproblem as a process of reasoning.The Math Test also includes a significant focus on problem solvingand data analysis. Problems in the Problem Solving and Data Analysiscategory require significant reasoning about ratios, rates, andproportional relationships. In keeping with the need to stress widelyapplicable college and career prerequisites, Problem Solving and DataAnalysis problems also emphasize interpreting and synthesizing dataand applying core concepts and methods of statistics in science, socialstudies, and career-related contexts.As a test that provides an entry point to postsecondary work, the newMath Test includes topics that are central to students progressing to later,more advanced mathematics. Chief among these topics/skills are anunderstanding of the structure of expressions and the ability to analyze,manipulate, and rewrite these expressions. The Passport to AdvancedMath problems privilege these key abilities, which serve students well inalgebra and beyond.While the overwhelming majority of problems on the Math Test fallinto the previous three categories, the test also addresses additionaltopics in high school mathematics. Once again, research evidence aboutrelevance to postsecondary education and work governs the inclusionof these topics in the test. These topics include geometry questions oncongruence, similarity, right triangles, and the Pythagorean theorem aswell as questions about complex numbers and trigonometric functions.In the Math Test, item sets (text, data, and/or graphics plus relatedquestions) allow the effective measurement of related skills and thus helpinspire productive, cohesive practice that reflects and encourages thebest of classroom work.6

T H E R E D E S I G N E D S AT»E X E C U T I V E S U M M A RYThe Math Test contains two portions: one in which the student mayuse a calculator and another in which the student may not. Theno-calculator portion allows the redesigned sat to assess fluenciesvalued by postsecondary instructors and includes conceptual questionsfor which a calculator is not needed. Meanwhile, the calculator portiongives insight into students’ capacity for strategic use of the tool toaddress problems efficiently.Considered together, these components of the redesigned sat provide a richview of students’ readiness for college and workforce training programs,embody a careful consideration of the best available evidence about theessential prerequisites for postsecondary work, and reflect key elements ofbest instructional practices. In brief, the redesigned sat is a critical part of aproductive relationship between assessment and instruction in which eachinforms the other in a deep and constructive way.To help realize that vision, the College Board is committed to makingthe redesigned sat a leading light in the field of assessment. It will betransparent in design so that all will know what is on it and why. It willbe a challenging yet appropriate and fair assessment of what studentsknow and can do. It will continue to measure students’ critical thinkingand problem-solving abilities and retain the strong predictive valuethat the sat has long been known for. It will continue to be researchdriven and evidence based in design and content. It will provide a morecomprehensive picture of student readiness than ever before. Finally,it will be an integral part of the College Board’s broader agenda ofpromoting equity and opportunity.This document represents an important first step toward meeting thegoal of transparency. Section I offers an overview of the reasons behindthe redesign, the exacting process used to undertake it, and many of thenew test’s key features. Section II provides a précis of the evidence basesupporting important redesign decisions. Sections III and IV offer detailedinformation about the individual components of the battery of tests,including a wide range of samples to illustrate the types of materials ineach test of the redesigned sat. Section V concludes the main documentwith important commitments that the College Board is making incarrying out the redesign. Appendix A contains a summary of the testdevelopment process used to construct the redesigned sat.7

T H E R E D E S I G N E D S AT»SECTION IExecutive SummarySECTION IBehind the RedesignSECTION IIThe Redesigned SAT: Evidentiary FoundationSECTION IIITest Specifications: SAT Evidence-Based Readingand Writing and SAT EssaySECTION IVTest Specifications: SAT Math TestSECTION VOur CommitmentAPPENDIX AThe Craft of Developing the SAT: How We Do It8

T H E R E D E S I G N E D S AT»SECTION IBehind the RedesignLinking Assessment and InstructionThe sat has come a long way in the last 88 years, evolving with the timesto become the valid, reliable, and widely respected measure of collegeand career readiness that it is today. Serving more than 1.6 millionstudents and thousands of high school counselors and postsecondaryadmission officers around the world each year, the sat plays criticalroles in measuring student achievement and readiness and in helpingstudents make successful transitions into college and workforce trainingprograms after high school graduation.Unfortunately, recent data from the sat suggest that far too many highschool students are unprepared for those transitions. According tothe College Board’s 2013 SAT Report on College & Career Readiness,more than half (57 percent) of sat takers in the 2013 cohort lackedthe academic skills to succeed in college-entry, credit-bearing courseswithout remediation in at least one subject. Indeed, no discernibleimprovement in students’ readiness levels can be seen over the periodfrom 2009 to 2013, a time when average sat scores have remainedvirtually unchanged. It’s alarming but not surprising, then, that over 30percent of entering college students require remediation (ranging from26.3 percent for public four-year institutions to 40.8 percent for publictwo-year institutions) — a trap from which few students, particularlyunderrepresented students, escape with the requisite foundation of skillsto enter credit-bearing courses and complete a college degree.1The rate of successful completion of college and workforce trainingprograms must also be radically improved if students’ and the nation’sfuture are to be secured. Fortunately, the two goals are intertwined.Our research has shown, for example, that good preparation is linkedto success in college: when students are prepared to enter college-entry,1The College Board, 2013 SAT Report on College & Career Readiness (New York: The College Board, 2013), id Radwin, Jennifer Wine, Peter Siegel, and Michael Bryan, 2011-12 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study(NPSAS:12): Student Financial Aid Estimates for 2011-12 (NCES 2013-165) (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education,Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, 2013),

T H E R E D E S I G N E D S AT»SECTION Icredit-bearing courses, they are much more likely to enter, persist, andcomplete a degree compared to those who are not prepared.2Postsecondary readiness and completion are critical means to the endof preparing all students for life after the classroom — a task made morechallenging and urgent by the changing nature of the workplace. What’smore, given the rapidly changing technological demands of many jobs,students need not only preparation for specific careers but also thefoundational reading, writing, language, and mathematics skills thatwill allow them to adapt more readily to a quickly evolving marketplace.Importantly, these foundational skills are also essential for successfulparticipation in our society and for the strength of our democracy.There’s a great deal of work ahead of us if we want to realize the full potentialof our nation’s youth and to reclaim the kind of security and prosperity thatmany Americans once took for granted. We can’t continue to allow vastnumbers of our country’s students to fall behind academically. It’s thereforecritical that we do everything possible to ensure that all students are on atrajectory to gain meaningful access to postsecondary courses and workforcetraining programs, complete degrees and certifications, and participatesuccessfully in an increasingly competitive and fluid global economy.ASSESSMENT AND OPPORTUNITYOur mission at the College Board is to foster equity and excellenceand to provide students with opportunities to succeed in college andcareers. We know that to accomplish this mission, we need to go beyonddelivering assessment to delivering opportunity.All of our work — in assessment, instruction, and access — willtherefore be focused not only on getting students into college and careertraining opportunities but also on ensuring that they have theknowledge, skills, and understandings needed to completepostsecondary work successfully, to open doors of opportunity forthemselves, and to keep those doors open throughout their lives. Thecommitment and engagement of our membership and the partnershipswe maintain with education leaders, teachers, school counselors,2Jeffrey Wyatt et al., SAT Benchmarks: Development of a College Readiness Benchmark and Its Relationship toSecondary and Postsecondary School Performance (College Board Research Report 2011-5) (New York: The CollegeBoard, 2011), 23, les/publications/2012/7/researchreport erformance.pdf; Krista D. Mattern, Emily J. Shaw, andJessica Marini, Does College Readiness Translate to College Completion? (New York: The College Board, in press).10

T H E R E D E S I G N E D S AT»SECTION Iadmission officers, financial aid staff, and others will help widen anddeepen the impact of this work.As a critical first step, we’ve redesigned the sat, our flagship college andcareer readiness assessment. The sat needs to promote opportunities forstudents by becoming more closely linked with rich, rigorous course work.It also must become a force within a larger system that delivers far moreeducational opportunities to students who have earned them.We believe strongly that our opportunity agenda must be foundedon the bedrock of what is truly required for postsecondary readinessand success. Among the findings repeatedly validated by high-qualityresearch are the following:1. Students who focus on learning fewer, more important things in depthhave a stronger foundation on which to build when they proceed tocollege and career. This kind of clarity in instruction, centered on theessentials of college and career readiness, is a hallmark of classroomsand teachers that dramatically impact achievement and prepare studentsfor college and career success.2. Students who take rigorous courses as part of their k–12 education aremuch more likely to be ready for and succeed in college and workforcetraining programs than are students who don’t take rigorous courses.3. Students who fall behind academically need early, productiveinterventions that help them develop academic and noncognitive skillsneeded to succeed.4. Students who are prepared for postsecondary education must bemade aware of and empowered to take advantage of the opportunitiesthey’ve earned.3We know from our work with higher education as well as fromother sources that there is a critical set of knowledge, skills, andunderstandings that disproportionately predicts student success incollege and workforce training programs. Based on a wealth of evidenceabout essential prerequisites for student success in postsecondaryeducation, we conclude that students must be able to:College and Career Readiness:A Goal for AllHigh school graduates who arecollege and career ready have ahigh likelihood of successfullyentering some type of postsecondaryeducation (i.e., four-year institution,two-year institution, trade school,technical school, and/or workforcetraining program) withoutremediation. Research shows thatthe threshold reading and math skillsrequired for college readiness areessentially the same as those requiredfor career training readiness, meaningthat sharply differentiated forms ofpreparation aren’t required.*The College Board will continue tosupport efforts to promote collegeand career readiness and success forall students — most importantly, thevital work that goes on in thousandsof classrooms across the nationevery day. In all its undertakings inthis area, including the redesign ofthe sat, the College Board favorsevidence-based approaches thatuse the best available informationabout what’s required for collegeand career readiness and success.In so doing, we draw on numeroussources: results of national highschool and postsecondary curriculumsurveys, including surveys conductedperiodically by the College Board;feedback from our membership,our partner organizations, andindependent subject-matterexperts; analyses of College Boardlongitudinal data on successful collegegraduates; and scholarly research.*3National Research Council, Learning and Understanding: Improving Advanced Study of Mathematics and Sciencein U.S. High Schools (Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2002), 9–10,; Wyatt et al., SAT Benchmarks, 19; K. Smith et al., “Validating the Application of Growth Models to CollegeBoard Data” (presentation, Annual Conference of the Northeastern Educational Research Association, RockyHill, CT, October 2012); Caroline Hoxby and Sarah Turner, Expanding College Opportunities for High-Achieving,Low Income Students (Stanford, CA: Stanford institute for Economic Policy Research, 2013), 38, 11ACT, Ready for College and Ready for Work: Sameor Different? (Iowa City: IA: ACT, 2006), /ReadinessBrief.pdf; Achieve, Makethe Case: College Ready AND Career Ready(Washington, DC: Achieve, 2013), 20CollegeReady CareerReady.pdf

T H E R E D E S I G N E D S AT»SECTION I» read, analyze, and use reasoning to comprehend challenging literary andinformational texts, including texts on science and history/social studiestopics, to demonstrate and expand their knowledge and understanding;» revise and edit extended texts across a range of academic and career-relatedsubjects for expression of ideas and to show facility with a core set ofgrammar, usage, and punctuation conventions;» show command of a focused but powerful set of knowledge, skills, andunderstandings in math and apply that ability to s

Apr 10, 2005 · Measured by the sat Math Test 158 Summary 159 Appendix B: Math Sample Questions . 159 Sample Questions: Heart of Algebra 171 Sample Questions: Problem Solving and Data Analysis 176 Sample Problem Set 181 Sample Questions: Passport to Advanced Math 190 Sample Questions