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HSAS Response to the Digitization of the SAT

Jessi Zheng, Grade 10, Staff Writer


 

This coming spring, major changes are coming to the CollegeBoard’s Scholastic Assessment Test, the SAT. The test is turning digital. 


According to the FAQ section of the CollegeBoard website, the switch from paper to digital aims to allow “more flexibility in terms of when, where, and how often the SAT is given.” All SAT exams will be conducted through BlueBook, CollegeBoard’s newest addition to their website. 


Prior to the day of the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test, the PSAT, HSAS students were instructed to download and log in to the application during one of their class periods in order to ensure that all the computers were ready for the day of the test.


The digitization has sparked controversy amongst the juniors of the High School of American Studies, as they are unsure of what to expect come spring. Since they will be the first group to take the new version of the test, they will have no prior knowledge to fall back on. However, the PSAT that the junior student body took in October was digital as well, giving them a teaser of what the SAT will be like. 


When asked about her feelings regarding the change, Julia Fried ‘25 expressed her preference for the old, paper version, pointing to the Desmos calculator and the format of the test as the culprit of her distaste. 


She described the digital version as “an inaccurate test of one’s knowledge,” as students are able to use the Desmos calculator for graphing questions instead of applying their own knowledge. 


The new version of the test has two versions, straying away from the traditional standardized model. Instead of every student receiving the same questions, the first half of the test determines the version that they receive for the second half. If they perform well on the first section, they will get a harder version for the second section. 


However, if they perform weaker on the first section, they will receive an easier version of the second section. This approach raised many eyebrows, as the scoring method for the test is brought into question.


Some juniors approve of the change. Michelle Osorio ‘25 expressed that while she had worried about the digitization of the SAT before, “taking the PSAT alleviated that stress.” 


Joyce Lee ‘25 noted the inclusion of the Desmos calculator in the test as a godsend, as it removes the need for students to bring their own calculator, “giving me [them] one less thing to worry about on the day of the SAT.” 


In the past, test takers were unable to keep track of how much time they had left in each section, as the times were only put up periodically by the proctor and even then, there was no way to see how much time you had left in the section. With the inclusion of a timer in the digital version, students are given control of keeping track of the time, allowing them to manage their time more efficiently. 


On the day of the PSAT, classrooms experienced delays due to computers either not being fully charged or the Bluebook application failing to operate correctly. During the test, some students recalled their computers running out of battery and having to change seats in order to charge their computer, wasting their testing time in the process. While the date of the SAT is still months away, the technical problems that students experienced during the PSAT have been pointed to as a cause of concern. 


While the fate of the digital SAT for the class of 2025 remains unclear, the juniors of HSAS are doing their best to prepare themselves for whatever might come their way in the spring of 2024. 

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