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SAT gets a makeover

By Catherine Hawley, Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Mar 11 2013 12:10:11 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 04 2013 08:05:21 AM CST

SAT Makeover

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

It's the most widely used college entrance exam.  But eight years after its last revamp, the SAT is getting a make over. 

The College Board says the redesign will more sharply focus the standardized test to the kind of academic work expected of students in high school and college.  The overhaul comes as the SAT is starting to lose market share to a rival exam.

More than 1.6-million students in the class of 2012 took the SAT, making it the largest group of test takers in the SAT's 87-year history.  That same year, the number of high schoolers who took the ACT surpassed the SAT for the very first time.

"Part of the reason the SATs are falling out of favor is it's more of a reason-based test, where the ACT is curriculum-based," explained Cedar Crest College Director of Admissions Lincoln Morris.

Cedar Crest College in Allentown accepts the SAT and the ACT from applicants.  The standardized tests serve as a measure of a student's college readiness and a predictor of college success.  Morris says the SATs and ACTs are really just one tool they use.

"You have to take the test score and then a whole bunch of other factors into account to really get an accurate idea of how that student's going to perform in their first year of college."

At Cedar Crest, they place more value on GPA as an indicator of success.  But standardized tests still have their place in admissions for now.  Morris says he's not surprised the ACT is more popular then the SAT.

"The people at ACT are doing a much better job of making their test relevant and selling it to school districts that find it to be an accurate measure of achievement," he shared.

Historically the ACT has been taken by students in the West and South while those on the East and West coasts have tended to take the SAT. 

"The College Board, I think, are just trying to adjust to the times," added Morris.

It's not clear when the changes will be made to the SAT.