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US SAT exams to go digital in 2024 to become ‘more relevant’

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College Board announced an array of changes to the SAT exam Tuesday, the largest being a switch to a digital format. While test takers will be allowed to use their own laptops or tablets, they’ll still have to take the test at a monitored testing site.

“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, said in the announcement. “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.”

Tuesday’s announcement comes after College Board tested a digital pilot of the SAT in the United States and around the world last November. According to the College Board announcement, “80% of students responded that they found it to be less stressful and 100% of educators reported having a positive experience.”

“It’s encouraging to see the positive feedback from students and educators who participated in the pilots for the digital SAT,” Ronné Turner, the vice provost for admissions and financial aid at Washington University in St. Louis, said in the announcement. “The changes to the test are timely and clearly centered around improving the student experience.”

As Turner suggested, the switch to a digital format is not the only change College Board announced. Other changes according to the announcement:

  • The digital SAT will be about two hours in length instead of three, with more time per question.
  • It will feature shorter reading passages with one question tied to each. Passages will reflect a wider range of topics that represent the works students read in college.
  • Calculators will be allowed on the entire math section.

“It felt a lot less stressful, and whole lot quicker than I thought it’d be,” Natalia Cossio, a student who participated in the digital pilot, said. “The shorter passages helped me concentrate more on what the question wanted me to do. Plus, you don’t have to remember to bring a calculator or a pencil.”

The announcement also comes as more and more colleges and universities are dropping standardized test requirements. In response to criticism that the exams favor wealthy, white applicants and disadvantage minority and low-income students, colleges and universities are paying more attention to the sum of student achievements and activities throughout high school.

Gwen Baumgardner: PUT AWAY THOSE NUMBER 2 PENCILS.
S-A-T TESTING IS GOING DIGITAL.

THE COLLEGE BOARD MADE THE ANNOUNCEMENT TUESDAY, SAYING IN 20-24, S-A-T TEST-TAKERS IN THE U.S. WILL BE ALLOWED TO USE THEIR OWN LAPTOPS OR TABLETS.
THOUGH THEY’LL STILL HAVE TO COMPLETE THE TEST AT A MONITORED TESTING SITE.

IN ADDITION TO GOING DIGITAL — THE S-A-T WILL SOON BE AN HOUR SHORTER IN LENGTH.
THE MAIN READING — WRITING — AND MATH PORTIONS WILL DROP FROM THREE HOURS TO TWO.

OFFICIALS WITH THE COLLEGE BOARD SAY THE SWITCH WILL MAKE THE EXAM MORE RELEVANT, AS COLLEGES BEGIN MAKING STANDARDIZED TESTS OPTIONAL FOR ADMISSION.

College Board announced an array of changes to the SAT exam Tuesday, the largest being a switch to a digital format. While test takers will be allowed to use their own laptops or tablets, they’ll still have to take the test at a monitored testing site.

“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, said in the announcement. “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.”

Tuesday’s announcement comes after College Board tested a digital pilot of the SAT in the United States and around the world last November. According to the College Board announcement, “80% of students responded that they found it to be less stressful and 100% of educators reported having a positive experience.”

“It’s encouraging to see the positive feedback from students and educators who participated in the pilots for the digital SAT,” Ronné Turner, the vice provost for admissions and financial aid at Washington University in St. Louis, said in the announcement. “The changes to the test are timely and clearly centered around improving the student experience.”

As Turner suggested, the switch to a digital format is not the only change College Board announced. Other changes according to the announcement:

  • The digital SAT will be about two hours in length instead of three, with more time per question.
  • It will feature shorter reading passages with one question tied to each. Passages will reflect a wider range of topics that represent the works students read in college.
  • Calculators will be allowed on the entire math section.

“It felt a lot less stressful, and whole lot quicker than I thought it’d be,” Natalia Cossio, a student who participated in the digital pilot, said. “The shorter passages helped me concentrate more on what the question wanted me to do. Plus, you don’t have to remember to bring a calculator or a pencil.”

The announcement also comes as more and more colleges and universities are dropping standardized test requirements. In response to criticism that the exams favor wealthy, white applicants and disadvantage minority and low-income students, colleges and universities are paying more attention to the sum of student achievements and activities throughout high school.

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