SAT Leaves Paper Behind

College Board announces shift to digital test

The College Board
 announced that the SAT will be given digitally starting in 2024. This means that bubble sheets and paper will no longer be used.

Photo: Emma Serralles

The College Board announced that the SAT will be given digitally starting in 2024. This means that bubble sheets and paper will no longer be used.

On Jan. 25 the College Board announced that they will move the SAT to a completely virtual format. This change will take effect in 2024.

“We’re not simply putting the current SAT on a digital platform—we’re taking full advantage of what delivering an assessment digitally makes possible,” the College Board said in a press release.  “With input from educators and students, we are adapting to ensure we continue to meet their evolving needs.”

“The goal is that the digital SAT will now be easier to take, easier to give, and more relevant,” the College Board stated.

The test will now be an hour shorter and test takers can use calculators for the entire math section. It will still be administered at testing centers or schools, but on a tablet or computer. The College Board will provide laptops and tablets if a student doesn’t have one. Additionally, the test will also adapt to the students’ performance, aiming to eliminate the need for a student to spend time answering questions that are either too easy or too hard for them to answer.

Director of College Counseling and Student Services Kelly Herrington is not surprised by this decision.

“These tests never measure a student’s heart, their character, their ability to generate their own ideas. It’s a standardized test,” Herrington said. “And so it will never fully, accurately describe students’ potential.”

“We’ve been moving in this direction for years. It was inevitable that it was gonna happen.”

— Director of College Counseling Kelly Herrington

“We’ve been moving in this direction for years,”Herrington said. “It was inevitable that it’s gonna happen.”

With other College Board tests moving online Herrington believes this aided the decision.

“For the last two years the AP exams were given digitally and that was a good ‘test run’ for this shift,” Herrington added.

Junior Whitney Brooks took the SAT in-person in late October 2021, but wishes she could also take it online.

“A shorter test obviously sounds nicer because I think doing a three hour test is a bit unnecessary,” Brooks said. “I think having a calculator for all the problems is nice too, because we kind of live in a world where we always have a calculator.”

Brooks didn’t mind taking it with pencil and paper.

“It might be confusing to some people or there might be some problems that occur because obviously technology isn’t perfect,” Brooks said.

The class of 2025 will be the first to experience this change. Freshman Sohvi Borland is not too concerned about the change.

“It’ll be nice to have a shorter test, but I don’t think that [the SAT] being online will really affect me,” Borland said.

Recently, conversations about how effective the SAT is in actually measuring a student’s capability have increased. According to the College Board, this is something that will be aided by the online version. Though Herrington thinks that there is some value to these tests, they are continuously playing less of a role in college admissions.