The College Board announced today that its SAT suite of assessments will be offered fully digital in the United States by 2024. The decision comes after the College Board piloted a digital exam in both the United States and internationally in Nov. 2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the College Board, 80 percent of students said they found the digital exam to be less stressful and 100 percent of educators reported having a positive experience.
“While the transition to digital will bring a number of student- and educator-friendly changes, many important features of the SAT Suite will stay the same,” the College Board said in a press release. “The SAT will still be scored on a 1600 scale, and educators and students can continue to track growth across the SAT Suite of Assessments over time. The assessments will continue to be administered in a school or in a test center with a proctor present – not at home.”
In terms of what is changing, the digital SAT will be shorter, clocking in closer to two hours instead of the current three, and students will have more time per question. Additionally, the digital test will feature shorter reading passages with one question tied to each. Calculators will also be allowed in the entire Math section. In a move that will likely help nervous students and families relax, students and educators will get scores back in days, instead of weeks. The digital SAT Suite score reports will also connect students to information and resources about local two-year colleges, workforce training programs, and career options. College Board says this move will help “reflect the range of paths that students take after high school.”
“The digital SAT will be easier to take, easier to give, and more relevant,” Priscilla Rodriguez, vice president of College Readiness Assessments at College Board, said. “We’re not simply putting the current SAT on a digital platform – we’re taking full advantage of what delivering an assessment digitally makes possible. With input from educators and students, we are adapting to ensure we continue to meet their evolving needs.”
Throughout the pandemic, the digital divide with education has been made starkly apparent. In a press release, College Board said it is taking steps to address inequities in access to technology. Students will be able to use their own device (laptop or tablet) or a school-issued device. If students don’t have a device to use, College Board will provide one for use on test day. College Board also added that 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.
College Board also said it believes the transition to digital will help curb any efforts to cheat on the exam. “With the current paper and pencil SAT, if one test form is compromised it can mean canceling administrations or canceling scores for a whole group of students,” College Board said. “Going digital allows every student to receive a unique test form, so it will be practically impossible to share answers.”
In terms of the specific timeline for the full suite of SAT assessments, College Board said the SAT will be delivered digitally internationally beginning in 2023 and the United States in 2024. The PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 8/9 will be delivered digitally in 2023 with the PSAT 10 following in 2024.