SAT Gone Digital

By Makena Bull

Around two million students throughout the world annually sign up to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). This assessment has been used as the main asset for students to get into college in the United States. As of the 2023-2024 school year, the College Board announced that the SAT will be online. Having the SAT assessment moved to an online platform can be both beneficial and detrimental to the school system. Not only will the test itself change, but also the way it is administered. Many adjustments will be made to the test. The SAT will shrink from three hours to two hours, include shorter reading passages and will allow a calculator on both math sections.  

Notorious for many hours at a desk and spending months waiting for results, a digital test will allow for much quicker assessments and results. This test will give a student more of an opportunity to decide their future education plans. Leading up to and after, the SAT is known to stress out many students. The pilot run for the online SAT was conducted in 2021, and 80 percent of students later reported that the digital exam was less stressful. The opportunity to receive test scores sooner after the date taken can help to relieve anxiety and tension regarding their score. 

While many benefits follow this new development, there are bound to be some issues as well. The consensus among students is that online assessments are more relaxed than pencil and paper, meaning that some might not take the SAT as seriously online.  Students will be provided with a laptop or tablet using a secure browser, similar to the current standardized testing applications. However, infamous internet issues are also a top concern for the digital assessment.     

Major reviews from colleges have led many to believe that moving the SAT online is to help regain relevance to our society. Universities such as Brown, Penn, Dartmouth, and Stanford are all currently SAT optional schools guaranteed to continue through the class of 2023 and will undergo further review as to make it long-term. As a result, students have stopped taking the tiresome and optional test if it will not improve their chances of getting into college. As of 2020, 2.2 million high school students signed up to take the SAT, but in 2021, only 1.5 million students were listed. The major decline in attendance is partly due to COVID -19. However, a large amount is also due to colleges no longer requiring the standardized exam for admissions. 

As technology changes, it’s important that education and testing continue forward. The new online version will be much more relevant and applicable to our current era and upcoming generations.


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