On Tuesday, January 25, the College Board announced new digital SAT changes. How should we respond to these changes? With patience!

Who will be affected by the SAT going digital?

  • Eventually, all SAT test-takers will be affected. However, this change is not in the immediate future for many.
  • In 2023, the new digital-only SAT will be distributed internationally.
  • U.S. students will take the fully digital SAT in the spring of 2024.
  • Current high school juniors who plan to take their final SAT in the fall of their senior year will not be affected.
  • Nearly all class of 2024 students (current sophomores) will be done with college admission testing by the time the new SAT is offered. To clarify, current freshmen will take the digital SAT.

What do we know about the new digital SAT changes?

  • The College Board tested the digital SAT in November 2021.
  • The SAT will be going digital in the US starting in the spring of 2024.
  • Students will take the future SAT in a school or in a test center with a proctor present—not at home.
  • Students will be able to use their own device—laptop or tablet.
  • On the other hand, if students don’t have a device to use, one will be provided for them.
  • The digital SAT will be shorter—about two hours instead of the current three.
  • The test will be divided into two sections, one on Math and one on Reading and Writing.
  • Digital SAT tests will allow calculators throughout the entire math section.
  • Reading will feature some shorter passages with one question tied to each.
  • Some form of “adaptive testing” may be used. In other words, a primary set of questions will determine the difficulty of subsequent questions. Therefore, subsequent questions will depend upon how the student performs on the first set.
  • Students and educators will receive scores in days instead of weeks. Current SAT Scoring Info
  • The knowledge the SAT measures and the 1600 scoring scale will not change.
  • No paper SAT tests mean no printing and delivery mishaps.
  • Students won’t lose work or time if there is a connectivity issue as the online test is designed to autosave.

What don’t we know about these changes?

  • Will reliable internet service be available for all students?
  • Moreover, for students who do not have a device, will the “provided” device ensure fairness in test-taking?
  • How will students who require special accommodations be affected by these changes?
  • How does “adaptive testing” ensure integrity and equity in all test questions and comparability in the final scores?
  • Finally, what will be the monetary cost for taking the new digital SAT? Current SAT Costs

Why are these changes being made to the SAT?

  • We can only speculate that the SAT changes are not primarily cost-cutting measures. However, the future digital SAT will spur significant savings on printing and mailing.
  • Perhaps the shorter length is an attempt to cater to shortened attention spans.
  • On the other hand, College Board research may suggest that a shorter test provides equally valuable information about test-takers as the current test does.
  • Perhaps the shorter test is somehow more consistent with the well-publicized efforts to de-emphasize a standardized objective measure for admissions and scholarships.