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SAT Spruce Up

The change will undoubtedly affect many students – 1.66 million prospective college students took the exam last year.

Elizabeth Hoyt

March 04, 2013

SAT Spruce Up
It’s been less than a decade since the last revamp but, the SAT is getting another face-lift, according to David Coleman, the new president of the College Board. The exam, which has been around since it was first administered in 1926, is the most commonly used entrance exam among prospective college students, at least, until recently. 2011 marked the first year that the ACT, the SAT’s closet rival exam, surpassed the SAT in terms of the number of students who took the exam.

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The College Board's upcoming change will undoubtedly affect many students – 1.66 million prospective college students took the exam last year.
What used to divide the two competitors were regional market shares – the SAT was historically taken by students on the East and West coasts while the ACT was taken by students in the Midwest and South.

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This, however, is no longer the case. Many schools accept either exam’s scores, therefore leaving students the option of which test to take, if not both. The SAT was most recently edited in 2005, with the addition of the written essay, timing and score adjustments and the omitting of the analogy portion of the exam. Coleman has criticized areas of the exam in the past including the lack of provided source material to analyze and cite within the written portion of the exam.

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While details of the new redesign have not been released, Coleman shared that the proposed changes will aim to facilitate students and colleges alike in “focusing on a core set of knowledge and skills that are essential to college and career success; reinforcing the practice of enriching and valuable schoolwork; fostering greater opportunities for students to make successful transitions into post-secondary education; and ensuring equity and fairness.” Education experts believe that the SAT redesign comes as a response to the loss of this market share to the ACT (1.67 million students took the ACT last year compared to the 1.66 million that took the SAT). In addition, many predict that the SAT redesign will be similar to the current ACT. “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,” Coleman wrote.

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