Turning Away From Paper and Pencil Forever

SAT switches to digital in 2024


Aubrey Migoski

Junior Grace Anderson does her homework digitally as most assignments have switched online.

The SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test), which has been taken on paper and pencil, will soon be digital starting in 2023 for international students, and 2024 for students in the United States.
The test measures literacy, numeracy, and writing skills, which are all needed for academic success in college.
According to Priscilla Rodriguez of the College Board, the organization behind the test, digitally, the SAT will be easier to take and give while being more relevant.
“The only way I see it being easier is that it is just faster in general, but I do not know if that necessarily means it is easier,” senior Luke Baker said.
The SAT has been on paper since 1926, so there will be many benefits as well as challenges going into 2024.
“It will be less time and less stress, but there could be computer outages, internet outages, and your computer might turn off,” senior Josh Tracy said.
In case there are internet difficulties, the digital test will be designed to autosave so that students will not lose work or time while they reconnect, but an outage might cause a student to finish the test at a later time than their peers.
“I think there would be a higher chance of people cheating and a higher chance of mishaps happening especially with digital problems,” Baker said.
nrp.org states that an “at-home” digital test option was previously scrapped by the College Board concerning the uninterrupted internet and power. Online learning was a struggle throughout the pandemic, mostly in low-income areas, which proves that taking the test at home could lead to further problems.
“I feel like more people would cheat [at home] because there are more resources available,” freshman Abby Caudill said.
Baker and Tracy both have taken the SAT and they also agreed that an “at-home” option would increase the chances of students cheating.
“The benefits of having the test on paper are not staring at a screen, and when you have a pencil in your hand, it is easier to work problems out, especially because you can not really write on your computer,” Baker said. “Digitally, you would not get hand cramps, but it would take a little longer.”
According to Tracy, he would love the digital version because he would get less distracted.
Students around the country build up an astronomical amount of stress for the SAT, but according to nrp.org, the test soon will go from three hours to two. It will also have shorter reading passages and a calculator available for the math section.
That being said, Baker states that shortening the test by an hour might be more rushed and it might not cover enough material.
The SAT will still take place at a school or test center, but students can pick between using their own devices or a school’s device.
Caudill’s class will be the first class to experience the digital SAT in 2024. She states that it will be an entirely different atmosphere than a usual standardized test, and she is worried because anything could go wrong. She will make sure to study for the test in order to receive a satisfying score.
Roosevelt offers a course to prepare students for the SAT and other life necessities called Pathways to College and Career Readiness. “Pathways” is a required class for juniors to take unless advanced or advanced placement classes fill their schedule.
“For the SAT, in particular, I do not think we need to focus on pathways over algebra or calculus,” Baker said.
While the SAT records the knowledge of a student, the digital SAT will soon be optional for students not planning on going to college.
The online test will be a new thing for everyone, but according to Rodriguez, with input from educators and students, the college board is adapting to ensure they continue to meet everyone’s evolving needs.

(Statistics obtained from https://www.nrp.org)