The SAT is going digital--What does that mean?

Posted by Neal Schwartz on February 19, 2022
SAT is Going Digital (1)

In the world of standardized testing, one test is getting a major update. The College Board recently announced that the SAT would be going entirely online in 2024. Following the trends spurred on by the pandemic, this shouldn't seem surprising. Especially since other tests have already been making the shift like the GRE, GMAT and TOEFL exam. But what are the implications for this new test?

First of all, the new digital test promises to be more secure, as it will be less prone to security breaches. Also, the test's new digital format will be shortened. This means that students who usually suffer from test fatigue will have an easier time with the test. The test will additionally be adaptive, which means that it will conform to each student's level corresponding to their responses. This will mean that each student will have different questions corresponding to their ability. Students will have more time per question and will respond to shorter reading passages. The new format is less based on speed-racing and more on comprehension. This leads to more accurate and well-rounded scoring.

Other benefits include the lack of need for a proctor, or even a graphing calculator, as one will be embedded within the test platform. Students even have the option of completing the test on their own device. In general, the streamlined process will also lead to faster scores and higher reliability.

However, there could be some downsides to this new SAT. For one, it might bring to light more inequalities between those who are connected and those who are not. Also, the timing seems a little peculiar and could be a marketing response to less students submitting test scores as a result of test-optional policies across many colleges. In this past year, score submitters applying to competitive schools dropped from around sixty percent to fifty percent or less last year. So, rather than have families focus on the broader issues of test necessity to the college process, the focus has the potential to shift. Since the SAT has a tendency to change every decade or so, contrary to its competitor, the ACT, this could be another act to come out on top.

So, what does this mean for the current high school freshmen that will be the first generation to take the new online SAT? Not to fear - you will be able to have access to adequate practice before the test is launched. In summary, the College Board is responding to a testing decline, but not just putting the original test online. The new test should take into account the new world of digital learning. And hopefully it will encourage more students to take it, due to its new accessibility.


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Topics: SAT/ACT, SAT prep, PSAT, college counseling, college requirements, college planning, high school freshman


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