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February 17, 2005

Pitt Takes Wait & see Attitude on new SAT

The new SAT, which will roll out next month, has a total score of 2400. But for now, Pitt Admissions officials will look only at the 1600 points on the verbal and math sections that are analogous to the old SAT.
The College Board developed a new SAT that they felt would more accurately reflect high school curriculums and better predict student performance in college. Critics of the new test say it favors students whose families can afford SAT coaching and prep courses, and works against low-income and minority students, who tend to do poorly on standardized tests.
The College Board will begin administering the new test nationally on March 12. Pitt will accept both old and new SAT scores for admission, according to Betsy Porter, director of Admissions and Financial Aid.
But she added that SAT scores are just one part of the admissions puzzle at Pitt. Other variables include a student’s high school record, grades, grade point average, class rank and an optional essay.
The re-tooled SAT will have three sections instead of the traditional two. In the new writing section, students will be required to write an essay taking a position on an issue, using reasoning and examples to support their arguments. Also included in the new section will be multiple-choice grammar questions.
Pitt will accept submissions of the new writing section, but will only weigh the scores from the verbal and math sections, Porter said. Like other universities across the country, Pitt will try to determine how the new writing section will figure into acceptance evaluations. “We need at least one cycle to see where the new writing section would be useful.”
The new SAT also features some changes to math and critical reading (formerly known as the verbal section), although the point values for these two sections will remain unchanged.
The new math section includes topics from third-year college-preparatory math and eliminates quantitative comparisons. In the critical reading section, students will examine short and long reading passages, and will no longer face an analogies section, which has been eliminated.
For more information on the new SAT, go to
—Mary Ann Thomas

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