Amid growing challenges to its role as the pre-eminent force in college admissions, the College Board on Oct. 22 unveiled a new test that it said would help prepare eighth graders for rigorous high school courses and college. The test, which will be available to schools next fall, is intended only for assessment and instructional purposes and has nothing to do with college admissions, College Board officials said. "This is not at all a pre-pre-pre SAT," Lee Jones, a College Board vice president, said at a news conference. "It’s a diagnostic tool to provide information about students’ strengths and weaknesses." The College Board, which owns the SAT and PSAT, made its announcement as an increasing percentage of high school students are taking the rival ACT and amid mounting concern over what critics call the misuses of the SAT and ACT and other standardized tests in college admissions. The new test, called ReadiStep, can be completed within two hours and is divided into three multiple-choice sections of critical reading, writing skills, and mathematics. It will cost less than $10 per student, College Board officials said, and schools and districts will pay for it. College Board officials described the test as voluntary and "low-stakes," and said the results would be shared only with teachers, parents, students, and schools…

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