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College Board Begins SAT Redesign

When David Coleman took over leadership of the College Board last year, he said reshaping the SAT to better reflect the new Common Core State Standards would be high on his agenda. (See Catherine Gewertz's coverage in May.)

Now, he is trying to make good on that promise. In a letter to College Board members, he announced the beginning of a collaborative effort to redesign the widely used college-entrance exam. The new assessment will aim to better connect K-12 and higher education institutions and more sharply focus on a core set of knowledge and skills that are essential for readiness, access, and success in college, wrote Coleman, one of the chief architects of the common standards for K-12.

"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," he wrote in the Feb. 25 letter.

Coleman said Vice President James Montoya and Executive Director Fabrizio D'Aloisio will lead the outreach efforts and hold meetings across the county to solicit feedback from key stakeholders on potential changes.

Among the objectives that will drive the College Board's work, Coleman mentioned increasing the value of the SAT to K-12 teachers, administrators, and counselors by strengthening the alignment of the SAT to college and career readiness; making sure content reflects excellence in classroom instruction; and developing companion tools that use SAT results to improve instruction and curriculum.

What the redesign may mean for the competition between the SAT and ACT is unknown. Last year, the number of students taking the competing ACT college-entrance exam surpassed the SAT. There were 1.66 million students in the graduating class of 2012 who took the SAT, compared with 1.67 million who took the ACT.

College Board officials aren't releasing any further details on the redesign at this time.

The SAT was first administered in 1926. It was last overhauled in 2005, with the writing section of the exam added.

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