TODAY   |  March 06, 2014

SAT is getting a big makeover

For the first time in years, the SAT, a high school rite of passage, is being redesigned. Changes include a return to a score scale of 1600, and making the essay portion optional. NBC’s Rehema Ellis reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> for the first time in ninecollege entrance exam is getting a makeover.

>> reporter: that s.a.t. test is getting a makeover.

>> i think it's about time that it did measure things kids learn in the classroom.

>> reporter: it is going high tech . by 2016 , it will be available in both paper and digital forms. it's returning to a score scale of 1600 . the essay portion will be optional and the current penalty for wrong answers is being remov removed. some vocabulary words will go away and more practical words will be included. there will be more focus on analyzing text and asking students to refer to real world examples and documents.

>> what is the length of an arc ?

>> you don't ask yourself that question every day in.

>> no, i don't think i need to know that. do i?

>> test prep is a $4 billion industry and driving a wedge between high and low -income students. to help level the playing field , the college board is partnering with kahn academy to offer free materials online.

>> i think we're going to level it to a large, large degree.

>> rehema ellis, nbc news, austin.