Exit Polls Out on New SAT

CNN has been doing pieces on the new SAT. There are “exit polls” of test takers and CNN is reporting them. Here are excerpts from a recent article.
(CNN)If you heard a mysterious sound last weekend, it was probably the collective exhale from nearly 300,000 students across the country, relieved to be finished with the SAT -- a new version that had undergone its biggest changes in a decade, maybe ever.

Judging by a survey by Kaplan Test Prep, one of the largest testing preparation services in the country, students encountered less trouble than they expected.

+Nearly 60% of students said the questions were straightforward and easy to follow, according to an email survey of more than 500 teens who took the new SAT. (Three hundred of the teens are enrolled in Kaplan Test Prep and 200 are not, according to Kaplan.) About half, 48%, said the test was about what they expected, 30% felt the test was more difficult than expected and 22% felt it was less difficult than they expected, the survey found.

Fifty-eight percent of the students said they found the length of the sections tiring, according to the survey. The College Board, in its own online survey of more than 8,000 students who took the test, said that students, by "a 6 to 1 margin," preferred the format of the new SAT over the previous version of the exam.

Forty-one percent felt the math section was more difficult than expected, according to the Kaplan survey. However, students did not seem wildly affected by not being able to use a calculator throughout the entire math section. (They can now use a calculator in only some sections of the math exam.) Fifty-six percent said they felt comfortable answering the math questions without a calculator, according to the survey. Note: just as we covered in our workshops here on the new SAT, there are two Math sections- one with calculator and one where a calculator is allowed.

When asked if the new SAT reflected what they have learned in high school, 16% answered "very much so," while 56% responded "somewhat," 23% said "not too much" and 5% responded "not at all."

In the College Board survey, 71% said the test reflected what they were learning in school, and 75% said the reading section was the same as or easier than expected. Eighty percent said the vocabulary words used on the test would be useful to them later in life, as compared to 55% who answered that way about last year's exam, the survey found.

Reaction on social media to the new exam was definitely mixed, with tweets ranging from "May have some hindsight bias, but that SAT killed my Saturday" to another thanking the College Board and Khan Academy, which offered free test prep to students, saying, "My guy felt ready & familiar w/ #newSAT - looking forward to May 10 scores!"

(James) Murphy ( Director of Tutoring for the Princeton Review) questions what has really changed on the test, since reading comprehension remains a major component and the writing section still tests grammar, although in a new format. The math tests less geometry, and the reading tests less vocabulary, he said. "So is that what this comes down to? That's how the test is more like school? I remain dubious (SAT word!!!!)."

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