Traditional schooling has undergone some considerable changes in the last two years alone. In the early days of the pandemic, the transition to online classes via Zoom caused school teachers and college professors to completely revamp their syllabuses. As we enter our third year of COVID-19 society, the changes are looking to get even more drastic with the amendments to the infamous SAT exams.
As if applying for colleges wasn't stressful enough, high school seniors have historically had to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SATs for short) as part of the process. These "standardized tests" measure students' comprehension of certain subjects and are typically submitted with college applications, with better scores increasing your chances of getting into your school of choice. With the threat of COVID still hanging over students, the SATs will soon undergo some groundbreaking changes.
Here are some of the biggest changes to the SAT exams.
A report from The New York Times breaks down many of the upcoming changes. Amidst a growing concern as to whether or not the SATs are being administered fairly or even necessary at all, the College Board announced on Jan. 25 that many changes would be implemented to the standardized tests throughout the next two years. Predictably, one of the changes includes designing a new computerized version of the tests.
The era of No. 2 pencil necessity will soon be phased out entirely. As reported by NYT, students will soon be able to complete the SATs on laptops or tablets. The tests will still be held at official testing sites, but students can now take tests on their own laptops or even be supplied one during testing. SATs will also be shortened from three hours to two hours.
On the math portion of the test, students will also be able to use calculators on the entire section, not just during specified parts. The reading passages will also be shorter.
Reportedly, test runs for the new SAT formats have been received positively. 80 percent of students claim that the digital tests were less stressful and easier to comprehend.
The changes to the SAT format come during an ongoing transitional period for United States schooling. In recent years, SAT scores have been slow to be posted online amidst ongoing pandemic hiccups. In December 2021, Ivy League school Harvard even waived its SAT and ACT score requirements in its applications for the next four years.
The SATs have been an ongoing source of needless stress for students since ... forever. These new changes mark an historic turning point for standardized education.
Though the current changes will most certainly be welcome, there is still outcry from professionals for schools to eliminate the exams altogether.
One user tweets: "The SAT was never relevant, just a waste of time. It can make the smartest student look dumb if they aren't good test takers. Do away with the whole damn thing"
The new changes to the SATs will be fully implemented by 2024 in the United States, while other parts of the world will enact them as early as next year in 2023.