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SAT to be digital, more 'straightforward', according to mentors

Posted at 7:04 AM, Jan 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-26 09:04:34-05

High school students will soon be ditching pencils and paper for laptops and tablets when they take the SAT.

The College Board, which develops the SAT, announced this week plans to go digital with the test in the coming years.

Students currently take the three-hour test with paper and pencil. When it moves to digital, they’ll be able to take it either on their own laptop or tablet, or one the testing center provides. The exam will also get cut down to two hours instead of three.

The College Board announced a slew of other changes as well.

The test will have shorter reading passages, with only one question tied to them instead of several.

A graphing calculator will also be built into the testing app for the math section in case students don’t want to or are not able to bring their own.

Students will also be able to get their scores much faster with the digital method.

The changes come after more colleges and universities are making the test optional for admission.

The National Center for Fair & Open Testing recently found that nearly 80% of colleges and universities no longer require standardized test scores from students.

Some parts of the SAT will be staying the same, however.

It will still be administered and monitored at a designated testing site, will still be based on a 1600-point scale, and will measure the skills and knowledge the College Board believes matter the most for career and college readiness.

Going Ivy is a local college admissions, tutoring, and test prep consulting group based in Phoenix. CEO Erin Goodnow told ABC15 these changes are designed to make the test more fair.

“There are so many parts of the SAT that really test a student on if they are a good test taker or not and a lot of people find that to be unfair, a lot of people have a big problem with that,” Goodnow said. “I think this is also an attempt by SAT to get rid of that and ease some of that and make it a lot more straightforward.”

The test has been criticized for bias, with some saying it disadvantages minority and low-income students.

The College Board has said the changes will make the test easier to take, easier to give, and more relevant.

Goodnow also said putting the SAT on a digital platform will help with equity for testing access, predicting more testing times and locations may be added once it makes the change.

“In the past, students have had to travel, sometimes, you know, 30 miles to a testing center,” she said. “That's also part of that intimidation factor, that they're going to the unknown location.”

The SAT will make the transition to digital in spring 2023 for international students, and spring 2024 for U.S. students.

Most students take the SAT for the first time in the spring of their junior year of high school, which would mean that in the U.S., students in the class of 2025 will be the first to experience the digital test.