SAT will be taken entirely online for the first time in the U.S. this weekend

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — As SAT play kicks disconnected this weekend, students crossed nan U.S. for nan first clip will return it pinch computers and tablets — and not nan pencils they’ve utilized since nan assemblage admissions trial was introduced astir a period ago.

It’s not unfamiliar territory for today’s integer natives, but immoderate are still warming up to nan idea.

“I’ve ever been nan type to do things connected paper, truthful astatine first I didn’t really for illustration it, but it’s not terrible,” said Rachel Morrow, a inferior astatine Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic High School successful Birmingham, wherever students person been practicing pinch a integer version. She likes a timer usability that keeps her connected way without having to watch nan clock.

The digital SAT’s launch comes arsenic its administrator, nan College Board, and backers of standardized tests dream to triumph complete schools and critics who are skeptical of its spot successful assemblage admissions.

The Covid-19 pandemic canceled a afloat SAT testing play and intensified longstanding questions astir whether nan exams favour students from high-income families. Many colleges dropped trial requirements, and coming astir still time off it up to students to determine whether to taxable scores.

Recently, a mini number of highly selective colleges including Dartmouth and Brown announced they would resume requiring SAT aliases ACT scores. They opportunity nan tests let them to place promising students who mightiness different beryllium overlooked — students from schools that don’t connection precocious coursework and extracurriculars, and whose teachers whitethorn beryllium stretched excessively bladed to constitute glowing letters of recommendation.

Many students spot upsides to taking nan SAT, moreover if colleges don’t require their scores.

“A batch of group are going test-optional now but if you do put your scores in, you astir apt will person an advantage,” Morrow said.

Her people has been practicing connected nan integer type of nan SAT. The schoolhouse 4 years agone took nan different measurement of introducing a mandatory SAT prep people for juniors successful business pinch CollegeSpring, a nonprofit that provides in-school mentation to thief students from low-income backgrounds position themselves amended for college.

The trial prep teacher, S’Heelia Marks, said nan SAT is particularly important for students for illustration hers who are predominantly Black and Latino and often from low-income households.

“In America, those are strikes against you,” Marks said. “You request to person each of nan advantages you tin successful bid to compete. And truthful for colleges, if they’re trial optional, and they don’t cognize nan schoolhouse you’re coming from aliases spot that those grades aren’t inflated successful immoderate benignant of way, they’re going to spell thin connected their feeder schools that they do trust, and they’re really excluding group much than you deliberation they are.”

The SAT besides tin unlock scholarships, but scoring good capable to suffice often requires aggravated trial prep, which galore low-income Americans don’t person entree to.

The integer trial is an hr shorter but group up and scored nan aforesaid way, pinch 2 sections — 1 math, nan different reference and penning — worthy up to 800 points each. It adapts to students’ performance, pinch questions becoming somewhat easier aliases harder arsenic they go. Test-takers tin usage their ain laptops aliases tablets but they still person to beryllium for nan trial astatine a monitored testing tract aliases successful school, not astatine home. To forestall cheating, students can’t activity successful immoderate different programme aliases exertion while nan trial is running.

Going integer will not resoluteness nan statement astir equity. While critics opportunity nan SAT and nan replacement ACT are biased toward better-resourced, high-income students, supporters opportunity they stay nan champion instrumentality for predicting occurrence successful assemblage and tin beryllium considered successful nan discourse of socioeconomic factors for illustration wherever a student lives.

Test administrators opportunity nan integer SAT addresses what is wrong their power by including a built-in precocious calculator for usage during nan exam, and by offering free full-length believe exams. And they opportunity nan results whitethorn bespeak inequities successful nan acquisition system, but do not origin them.

“Claims that are made astir inequities astir standardized testing — that connected a macro level is thing that, of people we salary attraction to, of people we attraction about,” said Priscilla Rodriguez, who leads nan assemblage readiness assessments section astatine nan College Board. “But capacity differences connected tests for illustration nan SAT reflector capacity differences seen successful each standardized appraisal fixed successful this country, going backmost to tests that are fixed to kids successful 3rd grade.”

About 1.9 cardinal students successful nan people of 2023 took nan SAT astatine slightest once, up from 1.7 cardinal successful 2022, according to nan College Board.

Emerson Houser, 17, is taking nan trial connected Saturday successful Columbus, Ohio. She is readying to taxable her scores to colleges she applies to sloppy of whether they are required. Judging from her online believe tests, she prefers nan integer version.

“We didn’t person to capable successful nan bubble expanse truthful we conscionable had to attraction connected our screens nan full time,” she said. “It made it easier to publication nan prompts and respond.”

At Holy Family Cristo Rey, Ashley Chávez-Cruz, a junior, said location are features that make nan integer trial consciousness familiar, for illustration a highlighting option. But she said it’s harder to people up problems and passages because you tin only make notes successful nan integer type successful a matter container disconnected to nan side.

But there’s besides thing little nerve-wracking astir taking a trial digitally.

“With nan insubstantial test, particularly because you’re successful a quiet room pinch nan timepiece ticking up location silently, it decidedly brings successful nan consciousness of an exam,” she said. “With nan integer SAT, I still knew it was an exam successful my mind, but I was little anxious.”

The Associated Press

The Associated Press