Local News

Teachers Training For New SAT That Includes Essay

Posted January 11, 2005

— The SAT is getting a make-over: Beginning in March, the new SAT will include a timed 25-minute essay section.

Wake County teachers are already cramming for the test. Recently several were back in class learning how to take and teach the new SAT.

"Change is hard for everyone," said Kristin Atkins of the Wake County public schools.

After 11 years in the works, the College Board is finally implementing the change, which will join the verbal and math portions of the test

"This is huge, we've been working on it a couple of years now," said Larry Brown of the College Board, which puts out the SAT

Brown travels the southeast preparing teachers to prepare their students.

"We need to coach (the students) actually," said Alane George, a Broughton High School English teacher. "They have to get their thoughts together in 5 minutes and write the first draft of an essay in 20 minutes."

As part of the test, students will actually write out the essay on paper and then scan it into the computer where it then goes into a nationwide database. Two English professionals give the essay a score of 1 through 6. Those two numbers are then added together for the total essay score.

For the 4,600 Wake County students that take the SAT each year, the change creates a little more pressure.

"We've always out-performed our peers in the state and in the nation," Atkins said. "Historically we've done quite well and we continue to do that. We want to make sure that we continue the success trend."

The new also section means a new scoring system: The high score used to be 1600, it is now 2400.

The math section is also changing with the addition of Algebra II.

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