SAT Goes Digital & Gets Shorter
On Tuesday, College Board announced that the college admission exam will forgo paper test booklets and answer sheets, as well as decrease from three hours to two. Students are expected to take the digital tests in exam centers. The changes are expected to go into effect internationally next year and in the U.S. in spring 2024, The Washington Post reports.
“The digital SAT will be easier to take, easier to give and more relevant,” Priscilla Rodriguez, vice president of college readiness assessments at College Board, says. “We’re not simply putting the current SAT on a digital platform—we’re taking full advantage of what delivering an assessment digitally makes possible.”
SHORTER TEST, FASTER RESULTS
One of the major changes to the exam will be shorter reading passages with only one question tied to each. Additionally, passages will reflect a wider range of topics “that represent the works students read in college,” according to College Board. Students will also be allowed to use calculators throughout the entire mathematics section. As a result of a shorter test, College Board expects faster grading with scores being sent back to students in days, rather than weeks.
“I think the digital SAT will be a shorter, more secure test that will be easier to administer—that is great for students and educators,” Stu Schmill, dean of admissions and student financial services at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, tells Inside Higher Ed.
Some critics say the changes, while expected, may not do enough to increase fairness across the board.
“Changing the format from paper to digital is not surprising. They’ve been hinting at this for a while, ever since they’ve had massive security breaches with international exams, so I think it’s the natural evolution of testing,” Jon Boeckenstedt, vice provost for enrollment management at Oregon State University, tells Inside Higher Ed. “If they didn’t do it first, ACT would have.”
He added, “The question for me is whether the test will be any more fair; even if it uses adaptive questions, fewer questions or shorter sections. If it’s the same SAT measuring the same thing as the current SAT, it’s unlikely to … That pretty much suggests the test is still measuring the same thing in the same ways with the same results.”