SAT to Go Online by 2024 [Plus, Get Shorter & Fully Allow Calculators]

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Changes to SAT make it virtual

The College Board has announced some big changes coming to the SAT. This appears to be to combat the changed perception towards the SAT.

Biggest Change: SAT to Be Administered Digitally

Timeline of the Shift to Online

Spring 2023:

International SAT will be online

Fall 2023:

International SAT will be online

PSAT will be online

Spring 2024:

International SAT will be online

PSAT will be online

U.S. SAT and SAT School Day will be online

The timeline makes sense in that students who will take the SAT online for the first time in spring of 2024 would have also taken the PSAT online in the previous fall (2023).

Will Students Take the Online SAT at Home?

No. Students will still take the SAT in school or at a test center with a proctor.

Does Moving the SAT Online Help or Hurt Students?

Moving the test online will hopefully help students more than it hurts students. 

Last fall at Caddell Prep, we made the change to have our students take diagnostic and practice tests in a similar fashion. Students at our office enter their answers online while taking the test, so their answers are automatically tied to their accounts and feedback is immediate. All students who had online tutoring or were part of an online class, submitted the tests online too.

This could be a plus for the College Board. Some students who took the SAT have had to wait longer than expected times to get their scores. Some students have even had their scores lost. Taking the test online should eliminate those issues. According to Priscilla Rodriguez, Vice President of College Readiness Assessments, after the change, scores will be available in mere days after taking a test. 

Possible Problems with the Digital SAT

Internet

If you’ve been in any public school, you have probably experienced some issues with the internet. This can create headaches and added stress to students and faculty when taking or administering the test. Issues with answers being saved and time counted correctly can cause problems.

According to the College Board video, students will take the test on a laptop or tablet. It wasn’t mentioned if the test centers or the College Board will provide these. However, that does imply that the computers will connect to the internet via Wi-Fi. If you talk to any principal, especially in NYC DOE, they will admit that there are issues with Wi-Fi in their school and that there are areas in the school without good connection. With hundreds or thousands of students connecting at the same time, the connection will likely be poor.

Number of Computers

Another possible problem is the availability of the resources to administer the test. Some schools may not have enough computers to administer the test to enough students. There are already issues with students being able to find an available test center. If the number of available seats are slashed due to the number of available computers, this will create a bigger problem.

Quality of Computers

Students who are working on fast computers may have an advantage over students working on older or slower computers. Aside from answering questions at a different pace based on how fast the questions load, stress and aggravation are bound to arise when a page doesn’t load quickly. That’s additional stress to the stress that may already be felt by the test-taker.

Other Changes to the SAT

Shorter Test

The test will be one hour shorter than the current SAT. The current SAT is three hours long and the proposed change will make it only two hours long. Prior to the 2016 change of the SAT, the SAT was about four hours long. Reducing the time of the test seems to be a trend.

Reading passages will be shorter and math problems will be less wordy.

Calculator Available

The SAT will no longer have a math section that doesn’t allow a calculator. This makes the SAT more similar to the ACT which only has one math section, which a calculator can be used on. The current version of the SAT has two math sections: one that allows a calculator and one that doesn’t.

Why We Need the SAT or Other Standardized Test

In 2021, 55% of US students graduated with an A or better. It is unlikely that all high schools had similar rigor in teaching, testing and grading. How can a college admissions officer identify the best students if more that half of graduates has an A or better? The answer is a standardized test, so all students take a test of the same difficulty that will allow the students to be compared and evaluated fairly.

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