SAT Controversy

Standardized Testing in a Digital World

Meghan Merlino, Online Editor

The College Board recently announced extensive changes to the SAT. After two very long years of cancellations, uncertainty, restrictions, and COVID anxiety, the SAT is going digital. Controversy has surrounded this announcement. Some wanted this change sooner, whereas others do not want it at all. 

So, what exactly is changing? In the United States, beginning in the spring of 2024, students will be required to take the SAT on laptops or tablets in a testing center. Instead of the test duration being three hours like usual, it will instead be two. However, people are most excited about the fact that calculators will be allowed in the entire Math section. The digital aspects of the test will make it easier to grade, and scores will be available within mere days.

To continue these drastic changes, the College Board states, “Reading and Writing passages will be shorter, with one question tied to each. Students will see a wider range of topics that represent the works they read in college.”

However, a major concern is how cheating can become more common. College Board is working hard to resolve this issue. In their Instagram comment section, the College Board states, “The digital testing application is being designed with security in mind-it will function as a tool to detect and address test security threats that may evolve or arise from a digital administration. In addition, going digital allows us to give every student a unique test form, so it will be practically impossible to share answers.” 

Another problem with this is that easier testing means higher scores. The average score will skyrocket, causing inflation. Scores that were deemed “high” in the past will become less rare or valuable.

Priscilla Rodriguez, head of the SAT team at College Board, states that the main reason for these changes is “to respond to the evolving needs of students.” The College Board has received backlash in response. Many individuals state that a better way to do this is to make the test free.  Many people cannot take the test simply because of the price. This can bar them from their future and give wealthier people better chances. The test price has always been an issue, and the College Board has yet to respond to this. 

Many students are stating their opinions in the Instagram comments section of the College Board account. One individual states, “Easier SAT because of calculator and easier to administer because it’s digital…so naturally the scoring won’t change, and the cost will probably double, I’d assume? It’s only natural from College Board.” Many individuals are accusing the College Board of making the test easier to administer yet keeping the price the same. They accuse the College Board of caring more about the money than the students.

Others who have taken the SAT during the pandemic are angry. The comments section is filled with responses along the lines of, “A little earlier would’ve been great” and “Definitely needed this in 2020, but okay.” The public is confused as to why the SAT is going digital in the future, instead of during the pandemic, when people needed it most. Test cancellations and COVID restrictions made in-person testing a nightmare, so a digital version would have been preferred. However, now that the world is steering back towards what is considered “normal,” the digital version is not necessary.

At Middletown High School South, only our current freshmen will be able to experience the new SAT and the only way to find out if this change is for the better is to wait until 2024. See you then.