Feb 26, 2013

College Board explores Plans for a New SAT®

The last time the College Board tinkered with the SAT® was in 2005.  While no tears were shed over the elimination of “analogies” and "quantitative comparisons," many openly questioned the value of adding a “writing” section that claimed little interest in the quality of an answer and helped lengthen the test-taking experience by 45 minutes.

Since his appointment last fall, the new College Board president has been strongly hinting that changes were once again in store for the SAT.  Published comments suggested his dissatisfaction with the obvious disconnect between the SAT and Common Core standards and specifically targeted the required essay as nothing short of a waste of time.

And for the first time last year, the ACT overtook the SAT as the most popular college entrance exam.  Not only that, but as the anti-test lobby has gained momentum, an increasing number of colleges have totally given up on the value of standardized testing and gone “test-optional.”

In an email circulated to College Board members on Monday, David Coleman announced that the organization would undertake an effort to “redesign the SAT® so that it better meets the needs of students, schools, and colleges at all levels.”

Without giving too much away, Coleman suggested that an improved SAT would focus on core knowledge and skills supporting student success in college and careers, clearly taking a page from ACT promotional materials that have successfully moved the test into first place among test-takers across the nation.

While hinting that the test may have broader applications in the highly profitable state-wide assessment market, Coleman underscores the origins of the SAT as a test “created to democratize access to higher education for all students” and provides reassurance that the redesigned SAT will meet the “evolving needs of admissions officers” to remain “a valid and reliable predictor of college success.”  

The College Board intends to engage consumers in the redesign process. It's doubtful anyone will vote for a return of analogies, antonyms or quantitative comparisons—the short list of College Board failures.

And you can bet that the final product will look more like the ACT than the current test.

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