The College Board, the organization responsible for the SAT, has announced that the SAT will undergo some fundamental changes. The board announced last month that the SAT will be in an all-digital format and the duration of the test will be reduced from 3 hours to 2. These changes come amidst the decision for many universities to make the SAT optional for college admissions.
What is the SAT?
The SAT is a standardized college admissions test used to evaluate to gauge a student’s verbal, written, mathematical, and reasoning skills. Most American universities require the SAT as a part of the admissions process. an applicant’s aptitude. It is taken by over 1.5 million students per year both in the United States and internationally.
Digitizing the SATs
The College Board has adjusted the SAT to a digital format which is meant to prevent cheating and widen access to the SATs. According to Priscilla Rodriguez, the Vice President College Readiness Assessments at College Board, “The digital SAT will be easier to take, easier to give and more relevant”. Transferring the SAT to a digital platform inevitably raises queries about students who don’t have, or have limited access to, digital technology and Wi-Fi especially since this has been a key concern for lower-income students through the pandemic.
According to the Public Policy Institute of California, only 67% of K–12 students had reliable access to computing devices, with it being lower amongst low-income students and students of color. To tackle this problem, the College Board will be aiming to provide students who don’t have access to their own devices or school devices, with devices to complete the SATs on. The tests also shouldn’t be affected by the loss of connection or power; the SAT has been designed to ensure that if connection or power is lost, the student’s work won’t be lost.
The digitization of the test will also mean that it’s easier to administer, as it does not have to be packed, sorted or shipped. Furthermore, this will make the test more secure. In the current format, one compromised test means a whole batch of students will have canceled scores, the new digital format means that each student will have a unique test. This has, however, raised some concerns about how students will be tested fairly if each test taker is presented with a different test.
Shortening the SAT
The content and the length of the test are also undergoing changes. The test is being reduced from 3 hours down to 2 and each question has more time. To facilitate this, one of the changes being made is to the long reading passages. The passages are being shortened with one dedicated question per passage. The subject matter of the passages is also changing to reflect the changing topics that universities are covering. Furthermore, calculators will also be allowed throughout the entire Math section. Students have given positive feedback on the new changes when they were debuted in the pilot tests. These new changes should mean that students and educators will receive the results within days rather than weeks. The new changes and the ease of administration should also mean that there should be more options for how and when the SAT is administered.
The new SAT is expected to debut internationally in 2023 and domestically in 2024. If you want to find out more about the changes and the feedback on them read the press release from the College Board here.
The SAT can be daunting for those who haven’t taken it before, but the earlier you start preparing and getting organized for your test date, the better you will feel. Good luck!