In January, the College Board announced that the infamous SAT will now begin to be administered online starting in 2024. The process of switching platforms will be gradual– sort of. This fall, the College Board will be offering students to take the PSAT online.
In announcing the change, the College Board highlighted multiple advantages of using an online testing site such as getting scores in a matter of days rather than weeks.
Along with the online platform, they will shorten the notorious three-hour test to two hours, allow calculator usage on the whole math section and provide shorter reading passages.
The College Board announced that this decision was made after they conducted a study where they “piloted the digital SAT in the U.S. and internationally” and “80% of students responded that they found it to be less stressful and 100% of educators reported having a positive experience.”
The test will not be administered at home, but rather in testing rooms with computers that students will report to either in school or on designated testing days.
Critics of the switch to an online test explain that the system used to score online tests will put students at a random disadvantage. If a student scores lower on the first section, the difficulty of their second section will decrease. On the other hand, a students difficulty will increase if they score well on the first section, meaning they are likely to do worse on the second section. This system presents a scoring problem which is yet to be publicly resolved by the College Board.
However, the college world can recognize why the College Board would make this switch now. The popularity of the SAT has declined over the years; many colleges nationwide have begun omitting any standardized test scores (SAT or ACT) from their admission requirements.
In fact, in California, a lawsuit against requiring standardized scores to be admitted into a college caused the University of California to announce that standardized scores were no longer a necessity, as they found that it created an opportunistic iniquity in a student’s chances of being admitted.