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Digital SAT: Goodbye #2 Pencils and Pink Erasers

As most of you know, the paper/pencil SAT is now a thing of the past. The students from

As most of you know, the paper/pencil SAT is now a thing of the past. The students from abroad have been using this platform for a little over a year and they have had no issues with the platform. Students in the US have met the platform with mixed reviews. 

Students take the SAT on laptops and tablets on the app called Bluebook. The College Board has practice tests on their website allowing for students to get used to the new format. One of the great things about the new platform is that it is an hour shorter than the previous paper/pencil platform. The reading section is shorter, more content subject areas are embedded in the reading section. Math is also shorter. There is also a built in digital calculator – students don’t need to bring their Texas Instrument calculator with them, but if I understand it correctly, they are allowed to bring their own calculator. 

The digital platform does allow for lower income students more access to the SAT, and with the advent of schools re introducing the SAT (ex/UT/Austin, Yale, MIT, Brown, Dartmouth as of this writing) after the COVID respite, some free and not free test prep options available (Khan Academy, Applerouth has some online complimentary options), there might be more flexibility as well as less turnaround time to see results. 

What do we know about the scoring of this digital platform? We know that there is a metaphorical ‘fork in the road’. What does this mean? Individual items are weighted differently. The level of difficulty is randomized in the verbal section, the level of difficulty of questions increases in the math section. Statistical equating will be used to determine the raw score to scaled score calculating for each section-weights will not be used for each adaptive section path. In simpler terms, the SAT corresponded with how many questions were answered correctly. Now there is an ‘easy path’ and more challenging path depending on student answers. 

What has not  changed? After looking at some questions, there is still some ambiguity within the reading section. That always threw me for a loop. While students will not need to know who or what the reading content is about, the student will need to know how to respond. 

As far as math, it is my understanding that students will have fewer math problems… 44 (down from 58), with less reading, there may be a tad bit more geometry and trigonometry. 30% of the problems will be in the context of science  or social studies or real world applications. The rest- ‘pure math’. 

The idea that this test is shorter is good news. The ACT remains an option if students prefer paper/pencil, but keep in mind, ACT is more of a content area based exam. 

I thank Applerouth for the basic facts within this blog.