New Digital SAT Format: Boon or Bane

Tutela New Digital SAT Format

The College Board will be administering the SAT, once viewed as a critical step to getting into college, online amid a major shift in its format brought on by the pandemic. The exam will move from paper and pencil to a digital format.
The aforementioned change is scheduled to roll out internationally in 2023 and in the U.S. in 2024. Making the exam shorter from the current version of three hours sitting, one hour will be shaved from the reading, writing and math assessment making it two from three!
According to the College Board, changes are made to address the concerns with access because of COVID and the lack of equity in the SAT. This has let a large number of colleges to stop using SAT scores as part of their admissions. These changes are made in the hope of making the test easier and shorter to narrow the performance gaps and restore the usefulness of the SAT as an assessment for college readiness.
Before diving into the critics in detail, let’s glance at the new SAT!
While the new SAT suite has been designed to bring friendly changes for students and educators, many of the important features will stay the same. For eg:

  • It will continue to measure the knowledge and skills that students are learning in the school which is the most sought parameter from colleges
  • Educators and students can continue to track the growth across the suite at the same scoring scale of 1600
  • The SAT exam proctoring will still be administered in a school or in a test centre
  • Students can practice from free resources on Khan Academy
  • Students will continue to connect directly with the scholarship opportunities
  • The College Board will continue to provide accommodations for those who receive them

Let’s take a look at the changes coming into action!

  • Students will test on a personal or a school-issued device
  • The new SAT will be administered for two hours instead of three with the shorter reading passages with one question tied to each.
  • Scores will be released faster to make college decisions quicker for students and educators
  • A graphing calculator will be built into the test app or students can bring their own for the entire math section
  • Digital score reports will help students connect to different courses, career options, and training programs
  • The digital SAT will be more flexible and secure as students will be receiving a unique version of the test. This will prevent the sour experiences of papers getting leaked or cheating!

Seeing the changes brought by the College Board, the student might receive tests through any of the following methods:

  • They can receive it through the draw method of a set of multiple questions in the testing app. 
  • The options or the questions can be shuffled to avoid any assimilation.
  • It can be adaptive like other standardized tests such as GMAT, but that is not logical here. The College Board can pave the path for adaptive tests in the future but for the upcoming SAT testing, we can be assured that it’s not going to happen.

With these changes in the picture, the preparation will take a slightly different turn:

  • Reading: Students will now be required to be focused on becoming a more-informed readers overall. They will require to cultivate opinions instead of simply being a passive recipient of facts that comes with good reading skills.
  • Writing and Language: Becoming familiar with all the grammar topics in detail will be required.
  • Math: Students should put additional focus on formulas and facts to finish the section in time. 

Now coming to some sweet and sour critics on the big news issued by the College Board!

  • The digital SAT is aimed to be easier to take, easier to give and offer more relevancy.
  • The shorter reading passages are predicted to reflect a wider range of topics that represent the works students read in college.
  • There are now seven opportunities to take the SATs instead of five for international students throughout the year, aligning it with the US market.
  • The digital model of the exam will come as less stressful for the students and a shorter span will reduce the performance lag at the end of the sections. 
  • This change is majorly being made in order to boost the relevancy of the test but the educators are not convinced.
  • This might come as a wrong conclusion as the changes will lower the standard for everyone as it hardly addresses the problems with equity.
  • With such a shift in SAT exam pattern that is causing questions about the credibility of the exam for assessing the academic performance of the student, ACT becomes a more reliable parameter.
  • With the Ed-tech industry’s revolution over two years, it was not hard to guess that it was high time that standardized exams were digitized too.
  • Keeping that in mind, Tutela was ready for any changes in the adaptability of standardized testing as we already have the technology for the ACT.  ACT Online Learning Platform (OLP) makes the preparation journey a little more effective as it is a one-of-a-kind adaptive and personalized learning to help students from all over the world achieve their dream scores.

Until further updates, it is what it is! We hope your doubts about the new SAT testing are clear. For upcoming changes, please stay tuned to this space, If you need any help, feel free to get in touch by filling out our student assistance form.