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College-entrance SAT exam set for major overhaul in 2016

Excerpt

The following is from the March 5, 2014, edition of Reuters news services, which is used by numerous publications worldwide. Wes Waggoner, SMU's dean of undergraduate admissions, provided expertise for this story.

March 6, 2014

By Jon Herskovitz

An obligatory essay, arcane vocabulary words and penalties for wrong answers will be gone from the widely used SAT exam as of 2016 as administrators try to make the standardized test more reflective of a student's readiness for college.

The College Board, which oversees the exam required by most colleges and universities for admission, wants the test to focus more on what students learn in high school and their ability to think analytically, its chief executive said on Wednesday. . .

The College Board is also trying to correct for advantages more affluent students have in being able to pay for exam tutors and test kits. It, along with the Khan Academy, a nonprofit education agency, will provide free test-preparation material for the new exam.

Wes Waggoner, dean of undergraduate admissions at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, applauded moves to increase access and information about the test. He added the SAT was in need of adjustment so it could better reflect how students would apply their education to college.

"The test had remained stagnant while the universe had moved along. This is realigning it with what we have been wanting and what students and educators had been wanting," Waggoner said.

The redesigned exam will take about three hours to complete and will include three sections: evidence-based reading and writing, math and the optional essay.

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