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College Board pushes back revised SAT by one year

Delay for New SAT
December 3, 2013

The new SAT will not be arriving until 2016, one year later than originally announced.

A brief statement released by the College Board's press office said that "this change in the timing of the redesign will serve our members in higher education by providing two years to plan for the redesigned exam and it will allow students to take the revised PSAT/NMSQT before the revised SAT. Our goal is to deliver an assessment system that is focused, useful and clear. Member input will continue to be integral to this work and we look forward to sharing additional information regarding the revision of our exams in the spring." (The new PSAT will start in 2015.)

In an email sent to high school guidance counselors, David Coleman, the president of the College Board, said: "We heard clearly from our members -- including our Board of Trustees, national and regional councils, the SAT committee, attendees at our national forum, and particularly those in higher education -- that you need more time, and we listened."

College Board officials were not available to discuss the delay. But some observers were surprised by the move because so many people have been critical of parts of the current SAT and excited about the changes. At September's annual meeting of the National Association for College Admission Counseling, Coleman held a session for high school and college admissions officials. While some did worry about whether the changes would be properly explained, there was near universal praise for the prospect of change -- especially for the end or major overhaul for a writing test that has been widely criticized by writing teachers (and by Coleman himself).

The College Board announced in February that it planned to overhaul the SAT. The announcement came as ACT had overtaken the SAT as the admissions test taken by the most people. Further the ACT has been seen as more aligned with the high school curriculum and the Common Core State Standards -- whose development was led by Coleman before he came to the College Board.

Jed Applerouth, founder of a national test-prep service, said he was scratching his head at the statement that the College Board was delaying the revised SAT because of demand for a slower change. He said that in his discussions with high school counselors and college admissions officials, he wasn't hearing anyone push for delay. "The ACT is gaining more momentum, and will have more market share in another two years," he said.

"Everyone has been excited about the prospect of changes," he said. "I don't see how anyone benefits from a delay."

Robert Schaeffer, public education director of the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, and a longtime critic of the College Board, said via email that "the delay is not surprising. David Coleman's initial target of a spring 2015 roll out for the latest version of an 'all new, improved' SAT was incredibly optimistic."

No Change in PSAT Schedule

The memo Coleman sent to high school counselors caused confusion among some because it referred to both fall and spring versions of the PSAT, which has historically been given only in the fall. Some thought this meant that the College Board was changing that policy and adding another testing time for the PSAT.

But a spokeswoman for the College Board said that was a mistake, and that the PSAT will remain a fall test.

 

 

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