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SAT college entrance exam to get upgrade

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Details regarding the rewrite of the SAT college entrance exam were revealed Wednesday in Austin. The big reveal of the big revamp comes a year later than planned.

College Board president David Coleman, when he took the stage in Austin, declared his redesign test will be a new doorway to opportunity.

"It is our problem," said Coleman referring to low test score for the past five years that indicate barely 43% of those who recently took the SAT were college ready.

Brazos Hall in downtown Austin was filled Wednesday afternoon with anxious educators and school counselors. They sat quietly as Coleman outlined the new SAT. The test will be focused on three key points:

  • evidence based reading and writing.
  • an optional essay
  • And math; calculator and non-calculator sections will be provided.

The changes announced Wednesday are designed to move away from students picking answers on a test to making them justify each answer.

"This redesign is designed to both celebrate fundamentals that have been durable for a long time and to open them to all students," said Coleman after making the announcement.

The re-write is not a total tear down like an urban redevelopment construction project. It will be a substantial change in the way things have been done.

The new SAT will return to the old 1600 point scale. It will last 3 hours with an additional 50 minutes for the essay portion (An essay will be required for Advanced Placement Testing). So called "SAT Words" are gone and when students start taking the test in the spring of 2016 they will no longer be penalized for making wrong answers.

"Working together we can change these numbers," Coleman told the group.

Before Coleman joined the College Board he was the architect of Common Core. The National curriculum for Math and English has been criticized from the Right as being politically skewed to the Left and its development has been denounced by some Liberal watchdogs as not being inclusive. Coleman, Wednesday, promised to work with local educators in developing lesson plans to help support the new SAT. Some low income student may also qualify for having college application fees paid for. High School counselors, like Cynthia Cortez, who spoke to FOX 7 after the announcement ceremony said they are optimistically cautious.

"I believe it will make a change because it will show that we are working towards being college ready and having more students go on to four year higher education," said Cortez.

Coleman also announced a partnership with Kahn Academy to provide free test prep material. Hard copies of the test will start becoming available next month. That will provide students and teachers two years to get used to it before it's offered in 2016. The test will also be provided in a digital format.

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