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Dramatic Changes In Works for SAT

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Big changes are coming to the SAT exam, and students will have two years to get ready for them. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.

Punctilious. Do you know what that means? Nothing to do with punctuality. It means meticulous.

Phlegmatic. Any clue? It means calm.

These are common SAT words, but not for long. Major changes to the SAT will render such obscure lexicon even more obsolete.

"The redesigned SAT will instead focus on the words students will use over and over again," said David Coleman, president of the College Board.

Coleman announced Wednesday that a dramatic makeover is in the works for the test that has been the standard exam for students applying to college.

Last year, 1.5 million students took the test, including nearly 48,000 from city public schools, but many universities have started to move away from the test. Now, slightly more students take the ACT, which is run by a rival company.

"It is time to admit that the SAT and ACT have become far too disconnected from the work of our high schools," said

The changes won't appear until 2016. That's when the mandatory essay section will become optional. Vocabulary words will be more relevant. Math will focus just on algebra, data analysis and complex equations. In addition, the new scoring system won't deduct points for wrong answers.

Many of these changes reflect adjustments that schools have been trying to make to what students learn, changes related to the new Common Core Learning Standards. It isn't surprising, since Coleman is known as the main architect of the increasingly controversial Common Core.

Coleman, who only left the group drafting those standards a year and a half ago, is a graduate of city public schools. He said that one of the biggest issues with the SAT is that it favors students who can afford test prep.

"If we believe that assessment must be a force for equity and excellence, it is time to shake things up," he said.

The shakeup won't get rid of test prep. It will just make it more widely available. Along with the revamped SAT, preparation videos will be posted online for free.

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