Monday, December 19, 2016
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...