The SAT change is detrimental to students


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The previous SAT exam required students to test on paper, where the new exam will be administered digitally.

The College Board released a statement on the 25th of January that entirely reshapes the SAT. Beginning in 2023 for international students and 2024 for students in the United States, the SAT will be administered differently. The new SAT will continue to be out of a score of 1600, but the time allotted to take the test will be cut significantly. Instead of a 3-hour time limit for the SAT that’s currently employed, the time limit for the SAT will be 2 hours. Also, the passages will be shorter and the questions will be related to each other in order to mirror the potential literature students will study in college. Also, the math section will allow calculators throughout the entire test compared to now, where there is only one portion where students may use a calculator. Most importantly, the exam will transform from a paper and pencil exam into a digital test. The exact structure of how the digital exam will appear is yet to be revealed. The goal of the College Board generally was to make the SAT more “relevant” to the common curriculum due to criticisms of the inapplicable content on the current SAT. But, it’s important to note the exams that fall into the “SAT Suite”, (SAT, PSAT/NMSQT®, PSAT™ 10, PSAT™ 8/9) will not receive these dramatic content changes but will still be digital.

The general population of students in the US has mixed feelings about the change. Students who struggled through this test in the past are outraged. These students have gone as far to shape their entire summer around preparing for this exam and fought through the full-length three-hour exam on paper and pencil. Previous test takers feel spited with the new parameters for this exam being much wider. On the other hand, students who are yet to take the SAT and plan on taking it in 2024 or beyond are overjoyed. They have the privilege of going through a much less stressful exam and the ability to use computers to which they have come accustomed.

Instinctively, I disagree with the reformation of the SAT. Nearly all standardized tests have gone digital in recent years and the SAT was the single standing exam for high school students that was nationally recognized on pencil and paper. The test now gives more time per question and the passages have become shorter. The SAT was greatly recognized for decades due to the rigor of the structure of the exam. The passages were highly intensive and the thought of a time constraint was constantly trickling down a student’s mind. That’s what made receiving the score a student desires so satisfying. Students were able to persevere through challenges and hone their test-taking skills. But, the new changes completely abandon this dynamic. Students are now given an easier path that in time, will harm students’ exam-taking skills.

Many parents and supporters of the new SAT argue the changes aids students’ mental health. Schools such as East have already begun to reform the taking of final exams to more constructive projects in order to aid students. The future of large high school exams are looking to ease the burden on students.Although the intention is to help students, the opposite is occurring. The College Board is doing a general disservice to students’ future mental health. New York University examined that 31% of students say exams and midterms are the most significant sources of stress. Large exams will be a part of student’s lives for the rest of their schooling careers. Whether a student wants to become a lawyer or a surgeon, they will have to take a long and stressful exam to reach their goal. Also, as of now, these exams are on paper and are not looking to change. Not preparing students to take these types of exams simply sets students’ development back and prolongs the inevitable hardship they will face.

For decades, the SAT has been used in college admissions to determine a student’s academic potential. But, with the new change of the structure of the exam, the discrepancy between students becomes smaller and it puts immense pressure on the admissions officers. Hypothetically, due to the new structure of the exam, scoring higher is generally easier. With schools implementing more digital facets to learning and with the increase of loopholes for students, grades don’t give the full picture of a student’s full academic standing. Now that there’s less of an emphasis on the SAT, it would be incredibly difficult to analyze how successful a student would be at their institution from an academic standpoint. Naturally, in the admissions process, more emphasis would be put on a student’s extracurricular involvement in order to determine their fit for the institution. But, the SAT generally becoming less rigorous puts colleges in a position in which they have to make a decision based on skewed factors.

The changes made by the College Board in revamping the structure of the SAT are ultimately flawed. The test has been transformed to aid students’ test-taking experience instead of allowing the student to struggle and master the exam through vigorous dedication. Students are being done a disservice by their elders and are being put in a position in which they’ll be blindsided in college. Also, the SAT is meant to measure a student’s college readiness, and making the exam easier augments the data. A college will never know if the potential suitor is academically ready. Ultimately, the new changes to the SAT harm students in reaching their full academic potential and places colleges in a difficult situation when analyzing a student’s fit with a particular university’s academic standard.