The Digital SAT In USA and adaptive testing are still subject to change, so students should be prepared for anything. The best way to accomplish this is to become acquainted with the test format and to practise as much as possible. Students should also take advantage of resources such as SAT prep courses, which can help them better understand and prepare for the test.
THE SHORT VERSION: The SAT and ACT's dovetailing in the twenty-first century is about to diverge.
In March 2023, the College Board will launch an international digital SAT.
- The SAT's strategy is to evolve with the times, whereas the ACT's strategy is to stay the course. Both make a case for how the paths they are paving will benefit students.
- The new landscape appears to be as transformed as anything the test prep industry has previously encountered. To properly respond to market needs, more resources, institutional experience, technical expertise, and specialisation will be required than ever before.
- Our product and technology teams are excited about the upcoming changes. The advanced work they've done over the last few years has prepared Compass well for the forthcoming changes.
- This fall, Compass will provide students with an early "PSAT experience" to help them develop comfort with the new format.
- Almost all students in the class of 2024 will have completed their testing before the arrival of the digital SAT.
- The class of 2023 will be the first to be confronted by the PSAT and SAT transitioning to a digital adaptive format.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DIGITAL ADAPTIVE SAT:
- The test specifications are now available here. The specifications include sample items but very little practice material.
- The College Board's testing app, which will include four practice tests, will be available for download this fall.
- Students, high schools, and colleges will not be required to learn any new scoring methods. The College Board will continue to use 200-800 scoring, with no need for a concordance. A 620 on paper is supposed to be equivalent to a 620 on the digital SAT.
- There is every reason to believe that colleges will outperform on both paper and digital SATs. Advanced juniors may take the paper exam in the fall of 2023 and retake it in the spring of 2025.
For the time being, national dates will remain unchanged.
- School day testing will have even more latitude: broad testing windows, staggering students throughout the day or over a week or month. Simple make-ups for missed classes. However, re-testing within a window will be limited.
- National testing may eventually provide more flexibility, such as staggered start times throughout the day.
- Students will take the test at school (there will be no at-home testing) and will have many options for testing devices. Students are welcome to bring their laptops (Windows or macOS), iPads, school-owned desktops and laptops, and school-managed Chromebooks.
- The bandwidth required is minimal. Because the entire test is cached and encrypted, an internet outage should not prevent an exam from being completed. Even after the exam has been completed, the results can be uploaded. It is difficult to enforce securely when a proctor says, "Pencils down," on a paper test. The computer can easily terminate the student's exam and secure the results.
- There is no firm answer as to how fees may be affected.
The Fundamentals of Stage Adaptation
The exam's adaptive nature is critical to making it a much shorter test.
- Existing accommodations will be maintained, and the majority will be available in a digital, adaptive format.
- Students with extra time will not be permitted to finish a section early to advance.
- Students will take a longer, 3-hour, non-digital and non-adaptive exam if accommodations cannot be provided digitally.
When a student connects the app to the internet and begins a test, the app downloads three sets of questions (modules) to the testing device for each section.
Each section is divided into two parts:
The Technicalities of Stage Adaptation
- Reading & Writing consists of two stages of 27 questions each lasting 32 minutes.
- Digital SAT Math has two stages of 22 questions each in 35 minutes.
- Every student takes the exam in the following order: Break, Reading and Writing Stage 1, Reading and Writing Stage 2, Math Stage 1, and Math Stage 2.
- The SAT is not item-adaptive, which means that each question varies based on performance (like the GMAT). It is rather stage-adaptive (like the GRE).
- It will only adjust once for Reading and Writing and once for Math. This reduces the importance of any single question while also preserving the ability to move back and forth within a stage.
- The first stage of each section is not adaptive (item difficulty does not "adapt" to a student's performance) and contains all question difficulty levels.
- The test will choose which of the two remaining sets of questions (modules) is an appropriate level of difficulty at the end of the first stage.
- This increase in difficulty is critical for achieving an accurate score on a shorter test.
Security and Technology Testing
- On an adaptive test, a simple right/wrong tally makes no sense, so students will never know how many questions they got right or wrong. Students will not know how their score was calculated. When everyone has taken a different exam, a published scale makes little sense.
- Students will not have access to their problems because College Board intends to reuse some of them in the future. Instead of releasing three actual tests per year through the Question-and-Answer Service (QAS), additional sample tests will be released regularly.
- There are two unscored questions per stage, equating questions. They will not be counted in the calculation that determines which the second stage the student receives, nor in the overall score.
- The College Board includes these questions to collect student performance data for future tests. This was previously handled by a fifth section that was easily identified as an "experimental" section. Students will have no idea which questions are ungraded.
- The College Board scales the exams using Item Response Theory (IRT). Under IRT, questions can have different weights, so a score is no longer determined by a simple count of correct and incorrect answers. IRT enables College Board to account for the fact that each student is assigned a unique exam.
- It can generate an optimised picture of which problems and weightings best place a student in a specific score range, but it is a more complex model. IRT is completely invisible to students. A student should simply focus on answering as many questions correctly as possible in the allotted time.
- Even in the early stages, students testing together will encounter different versions of the test. The test selects problems from a large pool, but the created sets of problems must meet the same content standards and provide an equivalent experience.
- There are no more locked drawers, sealed booklets, or delayed mail items, so the risk of a test being compromised is greatly reduced.
- Students at the same location can begin at different times because there is a much lower risk of sharing problems within a room or during breaks.
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