Should the SAT be digital?

Would changing the SAT to a digital platform be helpful and improve students’ scores?

By Zoe Hurmi

The SAT is becoming digital, whether it’s for the better or for the worst. The SAT, as of the 2024 testing season, will be taken completely digitally throughout the United States.

The SAT will become an hour shorter, so instead of a 3-hour test, it would be 2. By doing this, they would be giving the students more time per question.

The test will be shortening the reading passages and only having one question tied to a passage. On the math portion of the test, you will be able to use a calculator throughout the entire section. The students will be able to receive their test results within days instead of having to wait weeks.

If this change was made before the world had shut down and we were all inside, then the transition would be significantly more drastic. 

“I feel like just especially in the past few years, you guys are also used to just being on that platform. So to me, I don’t think it’s going to be that significant of a change transitioning from paper to online,” English teacher Kaleigh Patinella said.

Changing over to digital allows for plenty of good things to come of it, but there are also negative effects. Switching over to digital can make it harder for students to focus and stare at a screen for hours. It was hard for kids to focus when they had to be at home for a year. There will most likely be exceptions to taking it on paper with certain IEP or 504 plans. 

“Online tests are never good. It’s more opportunity for dishonesty,” senior Cade Dees said. 

There will always be that chance of students finding a way to cheat the system to score well.

Throwing the factor of technology in the mix can be very risky. Technology is consistently uncontrollable. There is always the unfortunate student whose computer shuts down mid-test, losing all their progress. 

“I feel like there wouldn’t be too much of a difference. I feel like [minimal] improvement if any. I don’t know how the question scaling would work.” Dees said. “I can’t see any significant benefit other than possible technology issues.”

Changing the SAT to be digital seems like a good idea and the changes they will be making will be very beneficial for future test takers. Yet with all good things, there will be problems. The College Board will most likely be working on all the kinks when making the switch, but their plan sounds like a great step forward in adapting to the modern age.