The First Wave of Students has completed The Digital SAT.
A few students have gotten a sneak peek at the new exam.
A large number of juniors from around the world have been invited to participate in a digital SAT pilot programme. The biggest perk is that their digital SAT score will be accepted as a real SAT score for college admissions.
For the College Board to conduct a side-by-side comparison, participants must also take the paper test in March or May. With so much data to sort through, the mathematicians who work on scoring and scaling will likely need some time to feel confident in their score equivalency.
We've been curious about students' experiences with the digital SAT and have gathered some preliminary feedback. Here are some general trends we've noticed from our initial interactions.
The technology appears to be operational.
One of the benefits of the digital SAT is that students can take the test using their computers or tablets. Students who have registered for a digital SAT will receive an email inviting them to download the necessary software to take the test. From what we've seen, the process appears to have gone smoothly. We've never had a student lose connection or have their device crash during a test. "It was simple to use. “Everything went swimmingly," said one student from the Atlanta area.
Students report feeling less stressed while taking the digital exam.
So far, students seem to like the Digital SAT Bluebook
and appreciate the new features. Having access to the clock is one simple feature that has helped to reduce stress. Many SAT and ACT testing rooms lack a working or visible clock, which can confuse students who did not bring a watch.
"It was less stressful than the paper-pencil test," one student says. I had a timer that told me how much time I had left. I also didn't have to keep flipping through pages to read the text again."
The shorter length was also praised, with one student remarking that "my brain wasn't tired by the time I got to the last section." Several students have advocated for the inclusion of the Demos graphing calculator, which allows students to find answers visually. Even with this feature, some students preferred their trusty TI-84 calculator for math classes.
The math is the same, but the reading is not.
Students have discussed the similarities and differences between the current and adaptive tests. The math appears to be similar, though many students felt that the math was easier than the current SAT. It is unclear whether this is due to the built-in calculator or the adaptive nature of the test.
The reading and writing sections, on the other hand, appear to be drastically different, with shorter passages and only one question each. Overall, students prefer this more focused approach. "I find this much better because if you get bored of a paragraph, there is only one question to answer," one student noted.
While rumors of new writing questions and the inclusion of poems abound on the Internet, it's important to remember that these are anecdotal and may not be present when the test goes live internationally in Spring 2023. Many examples of questions that no longer appear on the current SAT can be found in the first wave of practice released for the 2015-2016 redesign.
Concerns about student satisfaction
The College Board's next challenge will be behind closed doors, as it attempts to persuade college admissions officers to accept a new test.
The User Experience
The Bluebook app is simple. The digital tools are simple to locate, use, and then hide once finished.
Testing Content: grouping question types, establishing a routine
- Students can use the annotation feature to highlight text and add their notes. Given the short-form passages, we don't expect most students to rely on this feature heavily.
- The answer-elimination function is useful. When this option is enabled, the answer options are stricken through with a bold line and the text is greyed out just enough to be legible without being distracting.
- The countdown clock is centrally located and easily hidden or displayed based on student preference.
- The Mark for Review feature is especially helpful: the easily accessible visual display of all of a student's answer choices will assist students in navigating each section and quickly switching between flagged or omitted items.
Different question types appear in blocks rather than at random within a given section, allowing students to get into a rhythm. A student will see all of the "words in context" vocabulary questions at once in the Reading and Writing section, followed by a block of questions focusing on craft, structure, and purpose, and finally a block of grouped grammar questions.
Similarly, a student could see a grouping of six consecutive graphing questions in the math section. This format is analogous to having subsections within a section, and it enables students to learn the question types and progress through the test with a coherent, problem-solving mindset.
Thresholds and Caps for Scoring
We have more work to do to fully understand the nature of the scoring algorithm once more tests are released, but our initial analysis begins to reveal some of the "edges" of the scoring.
The Simple Upper Limit
If a student fails to answer more than 7 questions on the baseline math module and is thus routed to the easier adaptive module, the student's final score appears to be capped at around 650. Even if a student answers all 22 questions in the adaptive module (20 operational, 2 experimental), the missed questions from the baseline will result in a score of 650.
The Absolute Lower Limit
If a student correctly answers 15 questions on the baseline to advance to the harder math module but then misses every single question, that student will receive a score of 460.
So it appears that the minimum score for advancing to the hard math module is around 460 (15 of 44 total items answered correctly), and the maximum score for advancing to the easier math module is around 650. (36 of 44 items answered correctly).
It is important to note that this scale will most likely be unique to this practice test and will not generalise to subsequent tests, which will have their scales. The match threshold may be 14 or 16 questions, but this early analysis gives students a ballpark estimate of how well they will have to perform to advance to the more difficult adaptive sections.
So far, the College Board has met its deadlines and appears to be on track to roll out the new digital adaptive test to all international students in March 2023. The digital adaptive PSAT will be available to domestic students in October 2023, followed by the digital adaptive SAT in October 2024. In the spring of next year, current sophomores will be the first to transition from paper to digital testing.
We are looking forward to the October 18th updates and will keep you updated as we continue to build out our Digital SAT Online Classes
for this newest iteration of the SAT.
For further information about Self-Paced SAT Preparation
please contact us at [email protected]
or visit Masterclass Space