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Important Notes on the Data

Most data points in this year’s report cannot be compared to those in previous years. Here’s why:

  • The redesigned tests are new tests based on different specifications than the old tests.
  • While the majority of students in the class of 2016 took the old SAT, some took the new SAT.
  • The way we collect and report race and ethnicity data has changed.
  • We changed our data systems to support our new score-reporting portal and to better align to school, district, and state data systems.

Get more details and learn how to work with this year’s data

In March 2014, we announced that we would redesign the SAT to make it more focused, useful, and clear. Based on the most current research and evidence regarding what students need to be ready for college and careers, key changes to the SAT include:

  • Emphasizing the meaning of words in context, instead of obscure vocabulary that students won’t use frequently in college or careers
  • Focusing on the areas of math that matter most for college and career readiness
  • Making the essay optional
  • Eliminating the penalty for guessing

The new SAT was first administered in March 2016. We present here participation data for all students who took the new SAT in the period from March 2016 through June 2016 in either a national, international, or School Day administration.

New SAT Participation: March Through June 2016

Nearly 1.36 million test takers took the new SAT between March and June 2016, compared to nearly 1.18 million who took the old SAT during the same time period in 2015, representing a year-over-year increase of approximately 180,000 test takers from last spring.

Note: This year’s race and ethnicity data can’t be compared to that of previous years. Learn more about new race/ethnicity categories.

  Number Percentage
New SAT Participation: March Through June 2016
Total Test Takers 1,357,874 --
By Race/Ethnicity
American Indian 6,034 0.4%
Asian 116,108 8.6%
Black 159,885 11.8%
Hispanic 307,841 22.7%
White 625,953 46.1%
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander 2,864 0.2%
Two or More Races 47,089 3.5%
Other 1,960 0.1%
No Response 90,140 6.6%

What Test Takers Think of the New SAT

A cornerstone of the SAT redesign was to make an exam that is not only a valid indicator of college readiness for all students but also more straightforward and connected to classroom learning. Based on the responses of the 70,000 students we surveyed after they took the new SAT this spring, students not only prefer the new test over the old, but agree with the changes:

  • By a 7-to-1 margin, students said they preferred the format of the new SAT over that of the old SAT. 
  • 80% of students reported feeling confident going into the new SAT.
  • 77% said the vocabulary on the new test would be useful to them later in life.
  • 75% said the Reading Test was the same as or easier than they expected.
  • 72% said the new test reflected what they’re learning in school.



Educators and parents have also shown support. Based on recent surveys:

  • Parents are five times more likely to prefer that their child take the new SAT over the old SAT.
  • Nearly 7 in 10 teachers support the changes to the SAT.
  • More than three-quarters of counselors indicated that they plan to encourage students to register for the new SAT.


More Resources

Read the press release

See related 2016 reports

See older reports

Need more information? Email us.