New York City-based not-for-profit College Board recently announced that the SAT Suite of Assessments (SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT 10, PSAT 8/9) are going digital. What is the timeline for the transition? What is changing? What is staying the same? How will this impact students? What does this mean for students who are approaching test-optional admissions?
The transition begins with students in the high school class of 2025 who will be the first to take the digital SAT test in fall 2023. In addition, all students will take the PSAT tests digitally starting in fall 2023. By spring 2024, all SAT tests will be delivered digitally. Current 9th graders, as of winter 2022, will be the first to study and prepare for the digital SAT. Current 8th graders, as of winter 2022, will be the first to take the digital PSAT.
What’s new? There are some changes to the SAT. The test will be closer to two hours rather than the three hours scheduled for the current SAT with more time allotted for each question. Other features include shorter reading passages with one question applied to each, calculators will be allowed on the entire Math section, and students will get scores back more quickly, in days rather than weeks.
What’s the same? Many features of the SAT are staying the same. Scores will remain on the 1600 scale and all tests will still be administered in a school or a test center with a proctor — the digital tests will not be taken at home. Further, students will continue to have free practice resources on Khan Academy and full-length practice tests on the digital testing application.
What’s the impact? The College Board started piloting the digital SAT exams in the United States in fall 2021. Approximately 80 percent of the students who took the SAT in a digital format reported that they prefer the online exam because it is less stressful. Educators reported that they had a positive experience administering the online test. We expect the predictive ability of the test in support of rounding out the understanding of an applicant’s readiness for college to remain the same.
What does this mean for test-optional? As discussed in a previous blog, hundreds of colleges have temporarily made test score submissions optional, or even eliminated them altogether as an admissions requirement. What approach should students take toward standardized testing? Even amid this test-optional admissions climate, we typically recommend students make adequate time to develop a testing timeline, rigorously prepare for the exam, and take at least one administration of the test, if not two times. The goal is to determine if your student can obtain a score that adds value to their application. Historically, test scores tend to correlate with course rigor and performance. Novella’s position on the primary focus is to do one’s best in the most rigorous classes, which mitigates any changes to the testing landscape. Said plainly, higher grades in harder classes tend to lead to higher scores over a long enough timeline. Please read the blog How to Approach Test-Optional Admissions for further information. Please also get information right from the source. If you have further questions, please contact us for more information!