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The SAT exam goes fully digital for U.S. students in 2024

Students request the option to share their exam scores in college admissions, as the College Board approves changes to traditional testing.

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Becerra & Cabello duo

May 17th, 2022

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The College Board, the nonprofit organization that oversees standardized tests like the SAT and PSAT, announced on Tuesday that the exams will be moving online starting in 2023 for international students, and in 2024 for the U.S.

Digital SATs will do away with traditional test taking that required students to sit in a classroom for up to three hours, and determined their level of skill in math, English, and writing.

Students will now be able to complete the exams within a two-hour time period, the College Board said, and will face less frustrations, such as correctly filling in bubbles that corresponded to their answers.

“The digital SAT will be easier to take, easier to give, and more relevant,” said Priscilla Rodriguez, vice president of College Readiness Assessments at College Board.

Universities and colleges around the country previously required students to submit their SAT or ACT scores to be considered for college acceptance, but over the years that practice has dropped due to backlash.

According to a statement released on Tuesday, the College Board held a pilot of the online tests in November 2021.

Nearly 80% of students said the exams were less stressful to complete, and instructors were fully pleased with the process. The digital versions of the exams are expected to go unchanged.

One challenge the College Board faced moving the test digitally was how students would resume their exam in case of a glitch or loss of internet connection? In an effort to reduce inequities to technology, they said the test will include an autosave feature.

“If students don’t have a device to use, College Board will provide one for use on test day. If a student loses connectivity or power, the digital SAT has been designed to ensure they won’t lose their work or time while they reconnect,” they wrote.

Additional perks the digital exams will feature include shorter passages to read, college-related topics, use of calculators, and a less wait time for test scores to deliver.

Digital board exams will also allow states and schools to determine a testing schedule that works for them, and allows tests to be administered more often in the school year.

Students who participated in the College Board’s digital pilot said they would like the option to review their test scores, and share them with colleges they apply to.

“The SAT allows every student—regardless of where they go to high school—to be seen and to access opportunities that will shape their lives and careers,” Rodriguez said. 

Standardized tests have debatably been deemed non beneficial to proving a student’s knowledge or ability, yet some believe it poses a positive challenge and develops critical thinking skills.

However, the National Center for Fair & Open Testing in December 2021 published a statement saying that over 1,800 U.S. colleges will not require test scores for the 2022 fall semester.

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