Redesigned SAT Domains & Dimensions: Keys to Successful Classroom Integration
By Sarah Hanna, Rubicon International
Spark Webinar led by Sarah Hanna and Jeannie Oliver, Rubicon International
As you may know, the SAT was redesigned in 2015. Students in March of 2016 were the first to experience the assessment in its new form.
So, why was the SAT redesigned and how will it impact your classroom teaching?
In the past, students’ scores on the SAT were not necessarily indicative of their post-secondary success. By focusing more pointedly on the skills and tools students need to be propelled toward diverse opportunities, the goal of the SAT shifted from “delivering assessment to delivering opportunity.”
The redesigned SAT requires students to have a stronger command and deep understanding for fewer topics. The hope is that this will lead to greater learning and less cramming.
The assessment students encounter will also be a closer reflection of their classroom experience. With questions that focus on thoughtful and thorough learning, students will notice a greater correlation between how material is presented in class with how it is presented on the SAT exams.
Domains, Dimensions, and Descriptions
In conjunction with the redesigned exams, the College Board created a framework that comprises the content and skills needed for successful SAT preparation, known as the Domains & Dimensions. The seven Domains identify the overarching content area categories. The Dimensions, which are bolded and serve as content markers, denote the key topics students will be expected to know. The last and most detailed layer are the Descriptions. The Description portions are the benchmarks, written as skill statements, describing what students will know and be able to do.
Aligning to the SAT Domains & Dimensions
The alignments can be gathered and tracked in a variety of ways, but one particularly beneficial method is by building alignments in a curriculum mapping tool, such as Atlas.
1. Some schools have aligned their units of instruction to the SAT Domains & Dimensions, alongside their state standards requirements.
2. Other schools have filtered the SAT Domains and Dimensions into its own category to promote alignment building as units are created, as well as make the Dimensions & Descriptions very accessible for teachers. Here is a sample of how those unit categories could appear:
3. Another option is to determine whether your school or district would like to highlight or emphasize certain Dimensions and Description over others, and denote those prioritized standards in Atlas. Adding a “P” for Power Standards, or some similar identifier, is one beneficial approach.
- Familiarize yourself with the changes in the redesigned SAT.
- Compare the Dimensions & Descriptions with the sets of standards to which you are accountable at your school.
- Discuss vertical articulation with colleagues
- Consider highlighting the standards and benchmarks at your school that most closely align to the Dimensions & Descriptions for the SAT as Power Standards.
- Compare prioritized selections with SAT data.
Going forward, if you are a teacher who does not have immediate access to your students’ SAT results, make sure to ask to see the data! One or more of your school administrators will have access to student scores. Sharing results will ensure greater understanding of how students faired and what to tweak and change before the next round of exams. The companion document, which outlines how the SAT is scored and reported, will also help inform instruction.
Reviewing the SAT redesign and grappling with how the redesign will affect your instruction may seem daunting. Take solace, however, in knowing that the redesigned exams and supporting framework is meant to more closely align to what you are already doing in your classroom. So your curriculum and instruction shouldn’t need to be redesigned just realigned.