College Board Announces Sweeping SAT Redesign

It is a daunting hurdle familiar to a large proportion of all aspiring college students – the Scholastic Aptitude Test. Now, the College Board, the company that administers the exam, is announcing that the SAT will be completely redesigned in the near future in order to become a better marker of college preparedness for students who take it.

The announcement was greeted with surprise by some since the test, which has been administered since 1926, had undergone a substantial revision less than 10 years ago. The max score for the test went from 1600 to 2400 and an essay section was added to evaluate the students' writing skills, and some are wondering if another change coming so close is excessive.

However, the College Board might be motivated by the fact that the proportion of students taking the SAT is falling, with rival exam ACT claiming the top spot in the country for the first time, if only by a few thousand students.

It was probably the idea of the impending redesign that led to the appointment of David Coleman as the president of the nonprofit organization last year. Coleman was intimately involved with the design of the Common Core State Standards, the new academic curriculum set to be adopted by the majority of the states in the coming year.

After his appointment, at a speech held at the Brookings Institution, Coleman pointed to a number of problems he saw with the SAT as designed, particularly with the vocabulary and the essay portion.

The impending redesign was also announced by College Board Vice President Peter Kauffmann in an email to the company staff.

In the months ahead, the College Board will begin an effort in collaboration with its membership to redesign the SAT ® so that it better meets the needs of students, schools, and colleges at all levels. We will develop an assessment that mirrors the work that students will do in college so that they will practice the work they need to do to complete college. An improved SAT will strongly focus on the core knowledge and skills that evidence shows are most important to prepare students for the rigors of college and career. This is an ambitious endeavor, and one that will only succeed with the leadership of our Board of Trustees, the strong coordination of our councils and committees, and the full engagement of our membership.

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