SAN FRANCISCO, June 2 (UPI) -- The non-profit organization behind the SAT, widely used as an academic benchmark for college entry, will offer free test preparation in a move to make the highly competitive college admission test more fair and equitable.
The College Board announced a partnership with online tutor Khan Academy to create a free online SAT practice program, the first of its kind. Khan Academy was given unprecedented access to the revamped SAT that will be introduced in March 2016, a test that has been promised to be more transparent and relevant to college-level work.
"The College Board redesigned the SAT to better deliver to students the opportunities they have earned through hard work in their classes," said College Board President and CEO David Coleman. "We are equally committed to enhancing instruction and providing resources for students who are behind. There's no better practitioner of world-class, high-quality instruction for all students at all levels than Khan Academy - and their material just happens to be free.
The Khan Academy SAT site has quizzes based on the reading and math sections for the new SAT as well as full-length practice tests written by the College Board. Before this, parents and students shelled out hundreds, perhaps thousands, for test prep.
Major testing companies see the move as positive and don't seem concerned it will threaten the $4.5 billion industry.
"We think it's great," Michael Boothroyd, director of SAT and ACT programs for Kaplan, told Time. "The more material and the more transparent the materials are on the exam, the better."
The redesigned SAT will now be graded on a 1,600-point scale last used in 2004 and will make the essay section optional. The questions were written to more closely reflect what students have learned in high school and will learn in college. Those ridiculously difficult vocabulary words will be replaced with more commonly used terms. For example, querulous will be replaced with synthesis
"Everything we are doing is to make it easier for students to navigate this territory we know has typically been filled with anxiety," Coleman said.