One change was purely PR: the SAT doesn't stand for Scholastic Aptitude Test anymore. It just stands for SAT these days. Under the hood, there have been a host of tweaks intended to narrow the gap without trashing the predictive powers of the SAT too much.
For example, the upper range of the Verbal (now Critical Reading) test has been capped. Before 1995, it was very, very hard to get an 800 on the Verbal test. I came fairly close the first time I took the test in 1975, so I gave it another try, got a little closer, but gave up and didn't take it a third time because the two scores seemed quite accurate: I'm very good at verbal logic, and have a certain gift for insights that other people wouldn't come up with, but I'm not a meticulous thinker. I make lots of mistakes. I'm more of a let's run it up the flagpole and see if anybody salutes thinker. In contrast, say, Charles Murray's brain works like a BMW V-12: powerful and precise. Mine's a jalopy that might surprise you and win the race or might break down on the starting line and go nowhere. So, there didn't seem like much point in me doing a lot of test prep to try to score 800 on the verbal -- I'd still make a mistake or two or they throw a really hard question at me.
But now, an 800 is well within reach of a lot of well-drilled students.
An obvious reform would have been to make scoring of SAT-M more like scoring of SAT-V. Instead, College Board - ETS did the opposite in 1995. One reason was that all that headroom on the Verbal modestly increased The Gap. The V test was made much easier to score 800 upon in 1995. A 730 old style became an 800 new style.
The return on investment for the colossal number of hours devoted in recent decades to SAT cram schooling is modest. The test is designed to be hard to prep for, so it's taken gigantic efforts for gains measured in fractions of a standard deviation.
In contrast, AP tests are intended to be ones you can study for, so the ROI on test prep effort tends to be quite a bit higher than on the SAT. Far more students are passing AP tests than a decade ago, and that's a good thing. Why have young people waste their time studying for something that's built to be hard to study for when they can instead study subjects that are intrinsically worth studying?
As Mitch has pointed out, this system is doubly rigged in favor of the more goody-two-shoes high school students. Typically, you need high grades in earlier classes to get into high school AP classes, where you are then given a full extra point for your GPA -- even if your AP score shows you didn't actually learn much.
The initial winners from this changeover would, of course, tend to be Asians, who currently take a lot of AP tests. But good for them. Whites in heavily Asian areas, who have already started to adapt to the Asian challenge, would do okay. Whites in flyover regions would be challenged to get on the ball with AP. My guess is that it would be good for them and that they would eventually respond well to the challenge.
Overall, my plan looks like it would be better overall for society. There's a huge amount of energy out there looking to get an advantage in the college admissions process, so why not direct it in some positive sum direction?
Yes, sure, obviously it's a win-win, but, does it solve America's most overwhelming problem: Closing The Gap? Will blacks come closer to whites in scores under my system?
I dunno. I haven't thought about it. In fact, not worrying about Closing The Gap has allowed me to put forward a novel reform suggestion that might be better overall, which is not something you see too often these days.
In America today, 98% of the thinking devoted to college admissions goes to figuring out how your own kid can claw his way to the top, and the other 2% goes to airy handwaving theorizing about Closing The Gap. That leaves 0% devoted to thinking about improving the system overall.
Now, if I were truly, fanatically public-spirited, I would devote a lot of energy to dreaming up some bogus but persuasive-sounding theory about how my reform would Close The Gap, which would make it a lot more likely to be adapted. But, I'm not saintly enough to make up an elaborate lie.