The Scholastic Assessment Test or SAT is a multiple choice test to predict a student’s college readiness. It is designed to analyze and individual’s written, verbal and mathematical skills.
The current SAT is a three hour pen-paper test. Between college admissions going “test-optional” and COVID (testing requirements were dropped during COVID), the number of students taking SATs has decreased. Note: More than 1,800 four-year colleges have announced plans to go test-optional.
To better align with digital high school courses and post-covid standards, the SAT format will be changing to entirely digital starting in the US in March 2024. PSAT will change first, starting in the fall of 2023. The new more-relevant digital test will reflect the 21st century classroom with updated content and platform – the kind of testing that mirrors what today’s high school students are used to.
New SAT: Changes
- All digital format
- Reduced time (from 3 hours to 2 hours)
- Discontinued the optional SAT essay
- Discontinued the penalty deductions for the wrong answers
- Only 2 sections: Reading and writing section and math section
- Shorter passages:
- Instead of 600-word passages with 10 or 11 questions the new verbal section will feature shorter passages with only 1 question each
- Students can use a calculator for all math problems
- Currently there are about 20 math questions on the SAT that do not allow calculators
- Students can bring their own calculator or use the built-in graphic calculator
- Students will provide their own laptops:
- Must download the free Bluebooks program prior to testing. The Bluebooks application is compatible with Chromebooks, Macs, and PCs
- If the student does not have a computer (including a school issued computer), the College Board will have loaners available
- New set of digital tools with a timer, reference sheet, and flagging tool to mark pending questions for review
- Ability to easily switch between questions and math formulas
- Faster delivery of scores
- Days after testing instead of weeks
- Adaptive testing
- First set of answers will determine the level of the subsequent questions
- Designed for students to be able to exhibit individual capacity and career readiness
- Concise questions: Questions will be more direct with more time allotted to think through each question
Additional comments about the digital SAT
- Scoring remains the same with the maximum score still 1,600.
- Each section will have the score of 800 points
- Going digital will increase testing security
- The College Board can deliver a different test for every student to eliminate cheating and issues related to test security
- The College Board has a website for practice digital tests. Digital SAT practice tests
- College Board’s partner company, Khan Academy will also have digital practice tests.
- Accommodations for approved students will still be available
- 80% of participants of the November pilot launch of the digital SAT, found the new format to be “less stressful” than the paper test. (According to the College Board)
- Editor’s Note: I currently have not found any information/data about BLV pilot test takers.
The College Board provides this information about accommodations on the digital tests, including that refreshable braille displays, screen readers and magnification is allowed.
According to the accommodations,
- “If a student is unable to test using the digital test, they should contact customer service to request a paper braille test.”
- “A student may opt to take the digital test and use the raised line drawing supplement.”
- Under the Braille Writer heading: “For a digital test, braille writing software should be used. If a student is unable to take the digital test, they should contact customer service to request a paper test.”
The accommodations go on to talk about using a screen reader instead of a human reader (or option for human reader with a paper test), scribe and speech-to-text, use of Assistive Technology devices and more. Please go to the College Board Accommodations for the full list of accommodations.
While accommodation polices are in place there are still some question marks about the accessibility of individual test questions. If you were involved with the SAT pilot launch program, please share your experiences with us: email [email protected].
Note: The original starting date for the new digital SAT was October 2023. The College Board’s website now states PSAT tests will be digital starting in the fall of 2023 and the SAT will be digital starting in the US in March 2024.
By Diane Brauner, 2/7/23
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