The Ivy Coach Daily

January 25, 2022

The SAT Goes Digital

A piece in The New York Times focuses on The College Board’s looming switch to a digital SAT.

It’s a new dawn for the SAT. For generations, nervous high school students have filed on Saturday mornings into testing centers with sharpened No. 2 pencils in hand to complete their rite of passage: the SAT. But in a major announcement this week by The College Board, the maker of the SAT, the test will be offered completely on computers beginning in 2023 in nations outside of the United States and 2024 within the United States. And why the change? After all, it’s not like this whole computer thing is a new phenomenon. The College Board could have switched to a digital SAT ten years ago. No, they’re switching to a digital version of the SAT now to try to stop the bleeding. Since colleges across America have adopted test-optional policies due to the pandemic, the number of students taking the SAT has fallen precipitously. According to The College Board, the number of SAT test-takers has diminished from 2.2 million students who graduated in 2020 to 1.5 million students who graduated in 2021. So this new digital version of the SAT — along with some other changes to the exam — is The College Board’s hope of, well, keeping the test relevant.

As Stephanie Saul reports for The New York Times in a piece entitled “Put Down Your No. 2 Pencils. Forever.,” “The exam, which students will complete on laptops or tablets at testing centers, will also be shortened from three hours to two hours…The College Board is trying to retool the exam that has stressed out millions of students in the face of questions about whether college admissions tests are fair, or even necessary…In addition to its transition to a digital test, the College Board will also allow calculators on the entire math section, shorten reading passages and reflect a wider range of topics. In pilot runs that were conducted last year, 80 percent of students said they found the digital tests less stressful, according to the College Board, which said laptops or tablets would be provided for students who need them.”

So now that the SAT is going completely digital, how long do our readers think it will be before ACT, Inc. makes an announcement that the ACT will be offered exclusively digitally as well? A week? A month? A year? Will SAT’s biggest rival copy their playbook? Let us know your thoughts on how you think ACT will respond and if you think SAT’s digital switch will keep the test relevant for years to come. We look forward to hearing from you!

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