Students, teachers prepare for digital SAT

Beginning in the spring of 2024, the SAT will be a digitally administered test. Students and teachers prepare for this change from paper to computers. (Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons)
Beginning in the spring of 2024, the SAT will be a digitally administered test. Students and teachers prepare for this change from paper to computers. (Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons)

Each year, students are tested on their skills through the administration of standardized tests. One of the primary tests students take is the Scholastic Assessment Test, more commonly referred to as the SAT. Beginning in the Spring of 2024, the SAT will be administered online to accommodate the digital world.

The current SAT assesses students’ knowledge of reading, writing, math and language through a three-hour, 154-question test, with a majority of the questions being multiple choice. With the change to digital test-taking, the SAT will see a new format. There will be two sections: English and math. Each section will contain two modules that adjust as the student answers the questions.

Amy Russell is the Career and Technical Education counselor and the testing coordinator for Wakefield High School. She is heavily involved in the testing process; however, Wakefield is not a testing location for the SAT, meaning she only administers the test if a student needs accommodations. This past October, Russell assisted with the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test, or PSAT, which is also transitioning to digital. 

“The nice aspect of the SAT going digital is that it is a progressive test, meaning there are two sections,” Russell said. “Depending on how the students answer the questions in the first section will adjust the second section’s rigor.”

Depending on how the students answer the questions in the first section will adjust the second section’s rigor.

— Russell

As the transition from paper testing to digital testing becomes more prevalent, students and teachers must adjust as well. While the SAT tests the same topics and abilities, the new format might be a challenge for some students. Amelia Miano is an English teacher who has been teaching at Wakefield for nearly two decades. She is also a tutor and is well-versed in standardized testing. 

“The online SAT has smaller passages, more focused questions and almost looks easier, but there is a grading scale on the SAT which can hinder students,” Miano said.

Many students are familiar with computers and find the test to be user-friendly, but some students find the test to be harder, as they are not able to write down their thought processes. Emma Russ is a senior and has prepared for many standardized tests, including the SAT. 

“I feel like paper is better because when you are online too much it is harder to digest it with your eyes,” Russ said.

While challenges with technology and screens are a principal concern, some pros might outweigh the cons. Not only is the SAT shorter and divided differently, but the content of the test has changed. Previously, students could look for five long passages with several questions related to the passage, however, the new SAT and PSAT feature smaller passages.

Mackenzie Book is a junior who recently took the online version of the PSAT. Her experience has shown that not all digital tests are difficult and in some cases are beneficial.

“I loved the online PSAT because they compensated and shortened the reading passages,” Book said. “As someone who struggles with long reading passages, especially on a computer, that would have hurt me.”

While the time for the paper SAT comes to a close, students are still able to sign up for the original SAT. After that, students can expect to see a world full of digital tests in the future.

“For the students that I talked to, they said that they liked [the PSAT] better because it was more self-paced and they liked that aspect and it felt shorter,” Russell said.

Story continues below advertisement
Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Howler Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *