For decades, the creators of the SAT swore that their test measured immutable intelligence and could not be coached. A lot of people still believe these claims—which is hilarious since the SAT has changed relentlessly since its inception in 1926, and since annual revenue in the SAT prep industry is easily in the hundreds of millions.
On Wednesday, the College Board announced that the three-hour rite of passage will undergo yet another massive overhaul, which hasn’t happened since early in George W. Bush’s second term. (RELATED: A nostalgic trip down memory lane with the SAT [SLIDESHOW])
The College Board’s stated rationale for this change is that all college admission exams have failed to focus sufficiently on the real, meaty academic skills that students are supposed to learn in high school, reports The New York Times.
For the unveiling of the new SAT, David Coleman, the president of the College Board, proclaimed that both his company’s test and main rival ACT have “become disconnected from the work of our high schools.”
The makers of the ACT, who have tinkered with their test much less over the years, got fairly snippy about this criticism.
“David Coleman is not a spokesman for the ACT, and I acknowledge his political gamesmanship but I don’t appreciate it,” Jon Erickson, president of ACT’s education division, told The Times. “It seems like they’re mostly following what we’ve always done.”
Coleman began his College Board career in 2012. His SAT overhaul is largely a response to the fact that the once behemoth standardized test has been losing market share to the upstart ACT for years. In 2013, 1.8 million students took the ACT while only 1.7 million took the SAT.
Previously, Coleman had been among the chief architects of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, an attempt to create a standardized national K-12 math and language curriculum—but don’t call it a curriculum! As of now, 46 states have begun implementing part or all of Common Core.