January 25, 2022
The College Board announced today that the SAT will be going fully digital, arguing that the shift will make the test easier to take and administer—and a better fit for today’s students.
The move comes as a growing number of colleges and universities have gone test-optional in admissions, in part because the pandemic made it harder for students to gather safely to take the test, and in some cases out of concern that standardized tests may prevent barriers for some types of students.
Many critics of the test, though, remain skeptical that the changes are meaningful.
Priscilla Rodriguez, vice president of College Readiness Assessments for the College Board, and others affiliated with the design made the case in a call with reporters that the test now offers a “more approachable and less stressful experience” for students and educators, a goal that they say was “at the center” of the new changes.
Among the changes, the exam length has been cut down by an hour, from three to two, with shorter passages about a broader range of topics and one question per reading section. Scores will also be delivered faster.
Not everything has changed, though. In fact, the core components appear to be much the same. The test will still be scored on a 1,600 point scale, and it will still be administered at a school or test center, College Board says, so students will not be taking it at home. The group did run trials of an at-home version of the SAT early in the pandemic, but it moved away from that idea because it said it “would require three hours of uninterrupted, video-quality internet for each student, which can’t be guaranteed for all.”
The College Board said it had run a successful pilot in November of the digital version it did opt for.