So the standardized tests are dueling. Prompted in part by the ACT’s runaway success, the SAT is loudly overhauling its test structure. The ACT is also adjusting its format albeit more quietly. The new SAT and ACT will now be more aligned than they ever have been before, which is good or bad depending on how you look at it.
On the plus side, the tests should feel more similar to high school and college curriculums. Students no longer have to stuff their brains full of obscure SAT vocabulary words they will forget the moment they finish the test. Instead, the new SAT asks kids to understand words through context. It’s much more similar to the way in which vocabulary is introduced in college as well as the working world. Similarly, the tools kids need to succeed on the new ACT are now theoretically more closely linked to the tools kids need to succeed in college. The new ACT essay, for example, focuses more on world issues rather than the particular school debates of before. For both tests, the changes are designed to be more related and relatable to high school and college classrooms.