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Thought Leadership Q&A: Cyndie Schmeiser, College Board Chief of Assessment

University Business, December 2014

How did plans to redesign the SAT® come about?

Although the College Board made the announcement about the redesigned SAT® on March 5, 2014, we actually first began working on the redesign with our membership over two years ago. Before the announcement, we visited over 80 campuses, received input from nearly 300 institutions, and held numerous forums where we discussed the current and future needs of our members. Since the announcement, we’ve visited with more than 450 colleges to seek input and provide information about the redesigned SAT. The redesign effort has involved—and continues to involve—hundreds of College Board members, including elected College Board governance leaders, K–12 teachers and administrators, national experts on higher education, and enrollment leaders. One of the most important messages we heard from our members is the need to focus the exam on what really matters for students to be college- and career- ready. In the redesign of the SAT, therefore, we based the test specifications on actual data—empirical evidence—showing what matters in college readiness and success. At the same time, we are committed to making the exam more open and transparent than ever before. Together with the redesign, we have made a strong commitment to combat the inequalities driven by high-cost test preparation. We have partnered with Khan Academy to make test-preparation resources available to all students for free. We also remain committed to supporting educators and institutions during both the transition to, and the implementation of, the redesigned SAT.

Are there any tools and resources currently available to help prepare higher education institutions for the first administration of the redesigned SAT?

Earlier this fall, we released the “College Board Guide to Implementing the Redesigned SAT,” a valuable resource for higher education professionals who have specific questions about how the revised SAT scores will impact their campus. For those who want to read more about changes to data files, we released a white paper about electronic score reports, and we prepared a comparison of the current and future file layout. As always, the most up-to-date, official information for enrollment leaders can be found on the College Board’s website.

What milestones are you most excited about as we look toward 2015?

There is so much to look forward to in 2015, including the release of redesigned SAT practice tests through Khan Academy in spring 2015. In October, schools will begin offering the PSAT/NMSQT® 8/9, which will serve as the entry point for college and career preparation for eighth- and ninth-grade students. October 2015 will also be the first administration of the redesigned PSAT/NMSQT, the nation’s largest and most representative precollege assessment. The PSAT/NMSQT opens doors for improved instruction, identifies students who need to get back on target for readiness, expands access to challenging course work and, ultimately, helps ensure a more successful transition to college. These components of the College Board Readiness and Success System, along with the redesigned SAT, play critical roles in advancing readiness and success for all students. They are part of a larger commitment that we at College Board have made to break down barriers that prevent students from making a successful transition to college and career. We are resolute in our commitment to go beyond delivering assessments to delivering opportunity.

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