Feb 23 2022

SAT Will Go Digital for K–12 Test-Takers

Other changes to come for the standardized test include shorter reading passages, autosave features and the use of calculators for the math portion.

By 2024, the SAT will move entirely online. Students will take the test on computers and tablets at testing centers, rather than filling in scantron bubbles with their No. 2 pencil. The test will also be shorter — two hours instead of three — thanks to shorter reading passages, and test-takers will be allowed to use a calculator for the math portions of the exam.

Despite the changes, fewer higher education institutions require standardized tests as part of the admissions process. Speaking on NPR’s Morning Edition, Bob Schaeffer, executive director of FairTest, shared his concerns that the tests are not an accurate measure of students’ intelligence or abilities.

“The tests have demonstrable biases in terms of gender, in terms of language, in terms of special education students,” Schaeffer said, adding that an entirely digital version of the test also raises the issue of digital equity.

READ MORE: Is digital equity attainable in K–12 education?

The College Board, which develops and administers the SAT, is taking steps to address the equity concerns related to connectivity. The online version of the SAT will autosave students’ work, so they won’t lose their progress in the event of a disrupted internet connection.

Currently, nine states require students to take the SAT to graduate, with four additional states — Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Idaho — requiring students to take the SAT or ACT to graduate. Regardless of the format, the College Board states, the SAT plays “a vital role in holistic admissions,” according to a quote from NPR’s All Things Considered.

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