The School Board introduced right this moment that the SAT will probably be going totally digital, arguing that the shift will make the take a look at simpler to take and administer—and a greater match for right this moment’s college students.
The transfer comes as a rising variety of schools and universities have gone test-optional in admissions, partially as a result of the pandemic made it more durable for college kids to collect safely to take the take a look at, and in some instances out of concern that standardized exams could forestall boundaries for some kinds of college students.
Many critics of the take a look at, although, stay skeptical that the adjustments are significant.
Priscilla Rodriguez, vice chairman of School Readiness Assessments for the School Board, and others affiliated with the design made the case in a name with reporters that the take a look at now provides a “extra approachable and fewer nerve-racking expertise” for college kids and educators, a purpose that they are saying was “on the middle” of the brand new adjustments.
Amongst the adjustments, the examination size has been reduce down by an hour, from three to 2, with shorter passages a couple of broader vary of matters and one query per studying part. Scores may also be delivered quicker.
Not every thing has modified, although. In actual fact, the core parts seem like a lot the identical. The take a look at will nonetheless be scored on a 1,600 level scale, and it’ll nonetheless be administered at a college or take a look at middle, School Board says, so college students is not going to be taking it at residence. The group did run trials of an at-home model of the SAT early within the pandemic, nevertheless it moved away from that concept as a result of it mentioned it “would require three hours of uninterrupted, video-quality web for every pupil, which may’t be assured for all.”
The School Board mentioned it had run a profitable pilot in November of the digital model it did go for.
The School Board argues that the brand new adjustments will enhance the quantity of choices for colleges relating to when and the way to administer the examination. “As we transfer digital, we’re going to have the ability to give every pupil a novel model of the SAT,” Rodriguez harassed. This will increase the safety of the exams and affords colleges extra flexibility in after they provide the take a look at, and more and more, college students take the examination throughout the college day and so the pliability will maintain the doorways of alternative open to extra college students, she argued.
Bob Schaeffer, govt director of FairTest, a nonprofit that advocates for making the exams elective, mentioned in an announcement right this moment that the SAT’s transfer to digital is solely a “repackaging” of the SAT that doesn’t seem to noticeably tackle the criticisms of the take a look at’s validity or fairness.
“Shifting an pointless, biased, coachable, and poorly predictive multiple-choice examination that few colleges presently require from pencil-and-paper supply to an digital format doesn’t magically remodel it right into a extra correct, fairer or legitimate device for assessing faculty readiness,” Schaeffer wrote.
Greater than 1,800 schools and universities have test-optional admissions insurance policies right this moment, in comparison with 1,000 simply earlier than the pandemic hit, in response to figures from FairTest.
Others have additionally expressed skepticism.
“The difficulty was not that the SAT was in paper format… that was not the problem AT ALL,” Tweeted Jennifer Jessie, a longtime SAT tutor. “That has not ever come up within the years I’ve tutored this take a look at.”
Some admissions officers had been additionally underwhelmed.
“It’s myopic and duplicitous to measure the small victories with out measuring the large actual and alternative prices to society,” Jon Boeckenstedt, vice-president of enrollment administration at Oregon State College, wrote on Twitter. “For each first-generation and/or low-income and/or pupil of coloration the SAT has helped, it’s virtually actually damage lots of if not hundreds.”
The School Board, in the meantime, argues that the SAT is an “goal measure” of a pupil’s faculty readiness. Its leaders additionally say that college students will proceed to take the take a look at, even when it’s elective. “When practically each faculty went take a look at elective throughout the pandemic, hundreds of thousands of scholars nonetheless took the SAT,” School Board officers mentioned in an announcement this week. College students nonetheless need to take the take a look at in order to have the choice of submitting the scores in the event that they do nicely, the group says.
“In a largely test-optional world, the SAT is a lower-stakes take a look at in faculty admissions. Submitting a rating is elective for each kind of faculty, and we would like the SAT to be the absolute best choice for college kids,” mentioned Rodriguez in an announcement. “The SAT permits each pupil—no matter the place they go to highschool—to be seen and to entry alternatives that can form their lives and careers.”
Some observers see upsides within the adjustments, although.
“The transfer to a digital take a look at format is lengthy overdue,” mentioned Jerome Lucido, a analysis professor on the USC Rossier College of Training, in an electronic mail interview with EdSurge. Digital testing will probably be safer, he says, and the shorter format may also make the take a look at “much less of a psychological grind.”
Nevertheless, how schools use SAT scores within the decision-making course of—and whether or not the shorter exams are legitimate—will decide if the adjustments will result in extra fairness, argues Lucido. The validity of the exams will grow to be often called they get administered, he mentioned.
To enhance fairness, he mentioned, schools shouldn’t use “reduce scores,” the place the purposes of scholars aren’t reviewed under a sure rating degree, and they need to place the scores inside the context of a pupil’s instructional alternatives will stay inequitable components of the method.