3 takeaways from the launch of the digital SAT

In recent years, K12 education has gone increasingly digital, including test-taking. Here's what students and staff had to say after completing the digital SAT for the first time last weekend.

More than 200,000 students took the first digital SAT and they overwhelmingly approved of the updated exam, says a news release from the test’s administrators, The College Board.

Saturday (March 9) marked the U.S. launch of the new digital exam. How’d it go? One student said they appreciated the swiftness of the exam compared to the hard-copy version.

“I thought it was an easier process than the paper SAT,” Emily, a student from New Jersey, told The College Board. “It took less stamina and since there was a timer right in front of you I thought it was very useful. I felt that it was less stressful. This format allowed me enough time to get through each section and feel confident in my answers.”

Doreen Ciccarini, a paraprofessional and proctor of 17 years, echoed Emily’s thoughts despite feeling uncertain about the new format.

“I was very nervous leading up to this, but the experience was very easy and self-explanatory,” Ciccarini said. “I didn’t have any issues. I would 100% do it again.

More from DA: What leaders should know about the new digital SAT

This digital version of the SAT was first available to students outside the U.S. in the spring of 2023. Since then, more than 300,000 tests have been administered globally. Most notably, school staff seem to be more in favor of the new format compared to students.

According to The College Board:

  • 84% of students and 99% of staff reported having a better experience with the digital SAT compared to the traditional style.
  • 97% of students reported that the Bluebook testing app—the platform used to take the exam—was easy to use.
  • 95% of students said they felt comfortable taking the test on a digital device.

“I found the instructions for the exam to be very easy to follow, as well as the setup,” said Isabel, a junior in high school. “I appreciated how quickly the exam was over.”

These sentiments reflect the organization’s decision to transition to digital, noted Priscilla Rodrigues, senior vice president of College Readiness Assessments at College Board.

“We made the transition to a digital SAT in response to what students and educators were telling us,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “Students do a lot of their learning and testing digitally these days. Our goal was to provide a testing experience that is more relevant to today’s students and is less stressful for students to take and easier for educators to administer.”

Last week, District Administration shared insight from its conversation with The College Board to district leaders some background on the digital SAT to share with their students and staff.

Micah Ward
Micah Wardhttps://districtadministration.com
Micah Ward is a District Administration staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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