By Jamie Gumbrecht
(CNN) — Standardized tests like the SAT have become “far too disconnected from the work of our high schools,” College Board President and CEO David Coleman said Wednesday — and he expects an updated SAT test to change that.
From an event in Austin, Texas, Coleman said a redesigned SAT debuting in spring 2016 would include three sections — reading and writing, math and an essay — and would shift from its current score scale of 2400 back to 1600, with a separate score for the essay.
“Admissions officers and counselors have said they find the data from admissions exams useful, but are concerned that these exams have become disconnected from the work of high school classrooms and surrounded by costly test preparation,” Coleman said.
For the first time, the College Board will partner with Khan Academy to provide free test preparation materials, starting in spring 2015. Coleman also announced that all income-eligible students will receive fee waivers to apply to four colleges for free.
The redesigned test will take about three hours, with an additional 50 minutes for the essay, and will be administered by print and computer in 2016.
The updated test was expected to be released in 2015, but Coleman announced late last year it would be delayed until spring 2016. The last major changes to the SAT came in 2005, when the test added a written essay and altered some question formats.
The multiple choice SAT was first administered in 1926. In recent years, another exam, the ACT has gained popularity as several states adopted it as part of their standardized testing programs.
While the majority of four-year colleges require an SAT or ACT exam score for admission, hundreds of colleges have shifted to test-optional policies, that allow students to decide whether to submit a score.
Students’ grades and the academic rigor of their courses weighs more heavily in college admissions decision than standardized test scores, class rank or interest in attending a particular school, according to the National Association for College Admission Counseling’s 2013 “State of College Admission” report released in January.
The report was based on surveys sent to public and private high schools, postsecondary institutions and data from the College Board, The U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Census Bureau.