The Newspaper of McDaniel High School

The Oracle

The Newspaper of McDaniel High School

The Oracle

The Newspaper of McDaniel High School

The Oracle

New SAT format increases accessibility, changes strategies

This year’s SATs will be taken digitally instead of on paper, like they have been since the test’s conception in 1927. Students will be using Chromebooks to take the test during the school SAT day on Mar. 20.

The reasons for the change, according to a College Board press release from Jan. 2022, are to make the test easier for testing sites to access and proctors to give, and to reduce the incidence of cheating. Other benefits include the test taking an hour less time to complete and allowing the use of calculators for the entire math section of the test.

English teacher Gene Brunak said the former paper SAT was easier to cheat on “because you took it in person, you just had to provide an ID, go to a testing center that was usually anonymous.”

Because the test proctors didn’t know you, they could be fooled if you bring in a phony ID card.

Now, the digital test will prevent cheating by making everyone’s test unique, but as for cheating by identity theft, there’s no proof that the new test is any more fool-proof as long as you look like the person on the ID.

Brunak added that another major benefit to the new system is the speed at which the SATs will be able to be graded. In the same 2022 press release,  College Board says that “students and educators will get scores back in days, instead of weeks.”

Having the SAT online might mean students changing their test-taking strategies to get a better score. English teacher Ben Grosscup said that students may have to read each question thoroughly instead of being able to skip around to the easiest questions.

“Now maybe they have to really look at the text and look at the questions, and they can’t take on those strategies as much,” he said.

According to Grosscup, he believes that this will make the tests more of an assessment of a student’s skill.

One concern about the test being online is potential power or WiFi outages, which would interrupt the test. In the press release, College Board said that the test “has been designed to ensure [students] won’t lose their work or time while they reconnect.” However, an abrupt stoppage like that could still disrupt students’ focus.

“I would say [the new format is] somewhat of a double-edged sword: it’s useful and somewhat easier to do, but it could have some problems if the internet [is] doing bad,” junior Michael Truong said.

There are lots of resources available to help students with studying, including Khan Academy and the school’s SAT Prep Club. Brunak said that he and other teachers of juniors have resources for their students linked on Canvas.

“[Khan Academy is] supposed to be loaded onto Canvas for juniors so that they can get to it and get free practice including an entire practice exam. I’ve already shared that with my AP juniors, which is about 120 students,” Brunak said.

Truong strongly believes that the SAT club is useful for students.

“You can actually meet people who are taking the SAT, hear from the teachers on what’s going to happen on the SAT, and then get an idea of what’s gonna be in the tests,” he said.

This year’s class of juniors will be the first to experience the new system, so it will soon become more clear whether the online switch was a beneficial change for the SAT and high schoolers.

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About the Contributor
Eban Slate, Copy Editor
Eban Slate (he/him) is a sophomore who enjoys playing ultimate frisbee, running, playing piano and shooting photos. He joined The Oracle to write and photograph interesting stories for readers to be inspired by.

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    Ava WilkenApr 12, 2024 at 12:43 pm

    I like that you used information from the College Board press release, and also interviewed teachers at Mc Daniel to hear their thoughts. I wonder if the test being online had a major impact on how students did.