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College Board delays launch of ‘new’ SAT by one year

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Responding to input from “admission professionals,” College Board president David Coleman announced today that the College Board will delay the launch of any new SAT for one full year—until Spring 2016.

“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,” said Coleman in an email to counselors released earlier today. “Working in partnership with our members, we will deliver a redesigned assessment system that best serves higher education and propels students toward success in college and work.”

The story was first broken by Jed Applerouth, of Applerouth Tutoring Services, who speculated that “…the College Board needs more time to get its Common Core ducks in a row and create a test that can compete with the ever-surging ACT.”

Bowing to intense market pressure from the ACT, which last year administered 1.8 million tests, the College Board found itself in the unenviable position of having to play catch-up ball with an organization that’s already signed–up over 20% of the states to provide statewide testing in one form or another.

And in his remarks at the annual meeting of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) in September, Coleman suggested that the new SAT would be more closely tied to high school and college curricula—just like the ACT.

Bob Schaeffer, public education director for the National Center for Fair & Open Testing has seen it all before.

“The delay is not surprising,” said Schaeffer in response to the delay. “David Coleman's initial target of a spring 2015 roll out for the latest version of an 'all new, improved' SAT was incredibly optimistic, given the College Board's normal timeline for developing items."

Under the new plan, the College Board will administer a “preview” PSAT in October of 2015, followed by the revised SAT in spring 2016. This leaves two years to plan for the redesigned exam and work with various stakeholders for a more professional rollout than what the industry recently experienced with the new Common Application.

So high school sophomores can breathe a sigh of relief—they will be dodging the new SAT. Current high school freshmen will be the first students to take the new test, which if we are to believe Mr. Coleman, promises to move further away from trickery and closer to mastery.

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