Why is the SAT Changing?
Standardized testing has long faced criticism over its length, stress-inducing nature, and inability to accurately measure student academic proficiency. With the increasing number of schools opting to go test-optional and concern over test-taking as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, College Board has recently announced immense changes to the SAT which will come in 2024 for students in the United States and 2023 for international students.
What is Changing?
Perhaps the most notable change in the SAT is its shift to a digital format. Students will take the assessment digitally in proctored testing centers or schools—not in their homes. If students do not have access to a device on test day, College Board will provide one. Because of its digitization, connectivity issues will not hinder a student’s ability to complete the exam as previous work would be automatically saved. This change will allow the SAT to become more secure as well as easier to take and administer. Additionally, test results will be available within days rather than weeks. Another key change to the SAT is its shorter duration. The new SAT will take two hours to complete—one hour shorter than its current length. Accordingly, the reading section will be shorter as there will only be one question per truncated passage. Furthermore, students will be allowed to use a calculator for the entire math section of the SAT. These changes will allow students to have more time for each question and be tested on a wider variety of relevant topics.
Trials Show Positive Results
In November 2021, students participated in a global pilot digital SAT. Survey results reveal that 80% of participants and 100% of educators reported a positive, less stressful experience. In addition, 83% of students surveyed expressed interest in submitting their test scores to their targeted colleges. Natalia Cossio, a participant in the trial, found that the new SAT “felt a lot less stressful, and a whole lot quicker than [she] thought it'd be. The shorter passages helped [her] concentrate more on what the question wanted [her] to do”. This overwhelming positive feedback brings hope for a more favorable testing experience for all students.
Digital SAT brings student-friendly changes to test experience. (n.d.). News and Press Releases - Newsroom | College Board. https://newsroom.collegeboard.org/digital-sat-brings-student-friendly-changes-test-experience