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Renee Dudley of Reuters has dug deep into a story that seldom reaches public view: the internal battle inside the College Board–sponsor of the SAT–that followed the arrival of David Coleman.
Or, how the architect of the Common Core imposed his “beautiful vision” on the SAT and created massive disruption inside the organization.
“NEW YORK – Shortly after taking over the College Board in 2012, new CEO David Coleman circulated an internal memo laying out what he called a “beautiful vision.”
“It was his 7,800-word plan for transforming the organization’s signature product, the SAT college entrance exam. The path Coleman laid out was detailed, bold and idealistic – a reflection of his personality, say those who know him.
“Literary passages for the new SAT should be “memorable and often beautiful,” he wrote, and students should be able to take the test by computer.
“Finishing the redesign quickly was essential. If the overhaul were ready by March 2015, he wrote in a later email to senior employees, then the New York-based College Board could win new business and counter the most popular college entrance exam in America, the ACT.
“Perhaps the biggest change was the new test’s focus on the Common Core, the controversial set of learning standards that Coleman himself helped create. The new SAT, he wrote, would “show a striking alignment” to the standards, which set expectations for what American students from kindergarten through high school should learn to prepare for college or a career. The standards have been fully adopted by 42 states and the District of Columbia – and are changing how and what millions of children are taught.
“Redesigning the SAT to reflect the Common Core has solidified Coleman’s influence as one of the most powerful figures in education. He has emerged as “the arbiter of what America’s children should know and be able to do,” Diane Ravitch, former assistant secretary of education for President George H.W. Bush, wrote in her blog.
“But Coleman’s “beautiful vision” for remaking the exam soon met some harsh realities.
“”Internal documents reviewed by Reuters show pitched battles over his timeline to create the new test and whether the push to meet the deadline could backfire.
“The documents, which include memos, emails and presentations, reveal persistent concerns that aligning the redesigned SAT with the Common Core would disadvantage students in states that rejected the standards or were slow to absorb them. The materials also indicate that Coleman’s own decisions delayed the organization’s effort to offer a digital version of the exam.
“Today, less than a year after the new SAT debuted, the College Board continues to struggle with the consequences of Coleman’s crash course to remake the SAT and its companion, the PSAT, a junior version of the exam.”
The question now: what will happen to the Common Core-aligned SAT in the era of Trump, who claims to hate Common Core. If state’s drop Common Core, the SAT may be out on a limb.