Through our contacts at College Board, the NTPA received the following notes about the New Digital, Computer Adaptive SAT being released next year. We hope that you will find the following information useful:
You stated that the cost of the test is currently unconfirmed (might go up or down), please verify that I noted that correctly?
That is correct. The price of the digital exam has not yet been confirmed; we will provide more information on pricing and fees later this year when we get closer to opening up student registration for the first digital SAT administration internationally in spring 2023.
How frequently can a student take the test? Will there be a lifetime limit?
We do not impose limits on how frequently students take the SAT. Retaking the test is a great way for students to improve their scores, but not everyone needs to retake the test. We provide some helpful guidance on whether to retake the SAT here.
Is the test driver downloaded or are the items served in a single-question availability model? Related: If the blocks of items are downloaded will schools’ local infrastructure handle that burst capacity? What happens if a school server is caching? With AP the closed session submission caused your servers to choke, what makes this different?
Students will download the digital testing application ahead of test day. During testing, students can go back and forth to questions within a given module before time runs out. This is a different configuration than the AP tests in 2021.
We have specifically designed our digital assessment platform to account for variations in WI-FI strength and continuity. If the internet disconnects during testing, students will still be able to progress through the test with no disruption. If students lose their internet connection during the test, they are able to continue testing without interruption and reconnect when they are able in order to submit their results. Students will not lose testing time or their work if their connection drops.
We are working closely with our pilot centers and schools to test the platform across a wide variety of internet configurations to ensure students will be able to successfully test.
How do you remove 1/3 (or more) of the test and tell us it measures the same skills? Does this mean each skill will be tested using fewer items or will each item test more skills?
The digital SAT Suite tests will be multistage adaptive, so they can continue to measure the same core reading, writing, and math knowledge and skills as at present much more efficiently, shortening the overall length of the test while also allowing students more time per question.
Will scrap paper be allowed? If so…. Will it be erasable notepads like the GMAT? Do students bring their own? Will pencils and pens be allowed to be used? Who is responsible for bringing them?
Yes, students will be provided scratch paper and can bring a pen or pencil.
Is concordance with the ACT assumed to carry over from the current test?
There will not be a concordance needed for the digital SAT, so a new concordance with the ACT won’t be necessary.
Will score reports provide the number of right and wrong answers for test-takers?
Score reports for the digital SAT Suite will continue to include information on how students performed and how they can grow and improve. Reports will continue to connect students to college planning information, scholarships, and recognition programs.
But we’re making important changes that will mean the digital SAT Suite will be a useful tool for even more students.
A major change is that digital SAT Suite score reports will also connect students to information about local two-year colleges and workforce training programs tied to their achievements, interests, and financial goals. Students will also receive relevant information about how their SAT score connects to career opportunities that will help them set goals and make more informed decisions about their future.
We’ll share more about score reports for the digital SAT Suite later this year.
When is the technical report coming?
We will share test content specifications later this summer and will share technical information as needed.
Will there be a paper SAT official guide? If so, when will it be released?
All educator guidance resources and materials for the digital SAT Suite will be digital. Administration manuals and information will be included in the Test Day Toolkit for test center staff to access. We will continue to release detailed preparation information for students, and all practice resources will be available digitally on our digital testing app and through Officially SAT Practice on Khan Academy.
In general, are changes to content being contemplated, e.g. more pre-calc material such as logarithms, vectors, conics, matrices? Can you confirm that limits will not be added to the math?
The topics covered in the digital SAT Math section will be the same as those covered in the current SAT Math Test. We do not assess logarithms, vectors, conics, matrices, or limits.
Will Short Reading passages return?
The digital SAT Suite’s Reading and Writing section will continue to measure the skills and knowledge that are measured by the current SAT Suite’s Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section. It will include shorter reading passages than on the current paper and pencil exams, with one question tied to each. We are not reverting back to item types from previous versions of the SAT.
What is the level of difficulty of the first module? Is it a range or all medium?
Students will see questions of a wide range of difficulty in the first module.
Will the digital SAT be available to students in China?
The College Board has never actively prevented students from any specific geography from taking the SAT. For China, based on guidelines set forth by the Chinese Ministry of Education, only students attending authorized international schools in mainland China may take the SAT in mainland China. Those who don’t attend an authorized school have to take the SAT outside of mainland China, primarily in Hong Kong. We are not expecting the model of testing to change with this transition. However, we will continue to have these conversations with the government and look to expand access for all students.
How can the scores with the digital test and current test be comparable?
What the SAT measures is not changing: it will continue to measure the knowledge and skills that students are learning in high school and that matter most for college and career readiness. We are confident that the digital SAT will remain a valid predictor of college success.
Different raw to scale score conversions for the current SAT are a natural outcome of the test equating process, which corrects for minor differences in test difficult from form-to-form. For the digital SAT, similar psychometric procedures will be used to link the digital SAT to the current SAT as well as to maintain the comparability of scores across different versions of the multi-stage adaptive tests.
We have implemented a rigorous research agenda to collect and share comprehensive data on predictive validity and reliability as we have done for the current SAT Suite. We will share the full research agenda with higher ed in the coming months.
Students taking the digital SAT will get a score that accurately reflects their ability and is comparable to what they would have scored on the paper-and-pencil test.
When can we expect to have a more in-depth breakdown of section times, questions, content? We will share more information about test specifications later this summer.
Since the test will be section (module) adaptive, will it functionally be two sections each of Reading and Writing and Math with separate timings or will it be continuous between modules with a set amount of time for both modules?
Yes. With our multi-stage adaptive design, each section will include two stages, and each stage within a section will be timed separately.
What role will the ETS have in developing the digital test?
College Board is responsible for designing and developing the digital SAT Suite tests. We will continue to partner with ETS on certain aspects of test administration.
Why so emphatically one short passage, one question?
On the current tests’ Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section, students see nine extended passages with multiple questions tied to each. On the digital SAT Suite’s Reading and Writing section, students
will see about fifty shorter passages with one question associated with each. The shift to shorter passages has several benefits for students. First, it vastly increases the range and diversity of information and ideas that students will be exposed to, making it much more likely that the content they will engage with will be interesting and relevant to them. Second, students who might have struggled with an extended passage and its many associated questions can, on the digital SAT Suite’s Reading and Writing section, simply give their best answer to each question (potentially flagging questions within a stage they want to return to if time permits) and move on, with the understanding that one poorly grasped passage will not have an outsize impact on their overall score. Third, students will spend less time skimming and scanning in search of relevant information and can instead focus on applying higher-order skills and knowledge, such as making reasonable inferences.
We have heard from students who took the digital SAT during early pilots and research that this format felt less stressful and helped them to better pace themselves. This was true across groups of students, including English learners.
On what basis is CB confident that schools will be willing to host the test at all, much less as open sites?
We are listening to input and adapting to ensure we continue to meet the needs of all students and educators. Based on feedback, we have been working closely with test center coordinators to ensure they are prepared for all aspects of digital testing, and we will continue supporting coordinators through their first administrations of the digital SAT and on test day. We will also be working to add additional test centers in locations where they are needed to ensure all students who want to take the SAT have the opportunity to do so. Further, the move to digital means that schools, states, and districts that previously were unable to administer SAT School Day may now be able to thanks to the administrative flexibility the digital SAT Suite provides.
A related concern is a demand on school sites to provide technical support and equipment; how exactly will you ease this burden?
We will have dedicated customer service resources ready to troubleshoot issues on test day for students and test centers. We are also introducing and funding the role of technology coordinator for each test center to provide additional support.
Test centers will not need to provide any equipment to administer the digital SAT Suite. How will homeschooled students be accommodated?
Homeschooled students will still test at test centers as they do now, through our large network of weekend test centers.
Are students allowed to use their own calculators or must use an in-app calculator?
Students can use the built-in calculator or bring their own approved calculator.
Will the device lending be available for weekend national SAT dates only?
Yes. Students testing on a weekend administration, in the U.S. and internationally, can request to borrow a device from College Board.
Priscilla mentioned that the School Day window for administering a test might expand from a few days to up to a month. Could schools administer the exam many times throughout that window?
Starting in 2024, states, schools, and districts will be able to choose their test day or days within a testing window of several weeks to administer SAT School Day. This is especially helpful for schools that need to spread out testing for their students to provide necessary devices or that have space limitations. More information on how schools can take advantage of this flexibility will be shared later this year.
Will SAT School Day still only be given in the Spring?
Currently, SAT School Day is offered in both the fall, with two dates in October, and the spring, with four dates in March and April. The PSAT-related assessments are offered in both fall and spring windows. We plan on continuing to offer opportunities in both the spring and the fall and we are working with schools to determine longer testing windows that work with their schedules.
Will PSAT test takers get visibility of all the questions from the test they took?
With our move to unique versions of the test for each student, which will allow much more flexibility for when and how often schools administer the SAT Suite of Assessments, students and educators will no longer be able to see all of the specific questions that each student was administered when taking the SAT School Day, PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 8/9 after students have tested. SAT Suite Practice tests, example questions, and the SAT Suite Question Bank will provide access to questions that students and educators can use to practice and score reports for SAT Suite of Assessments will help identify areas of strength and areas for focus. Each year, we will release new content that has been used in previous tests, to provide even more opportunities for improvement.
If the Reading will only have short passages, will questions with infographics be retained? Select Reading and Writing questions will continue to include informational graphics. When will there be pilot administrations for which students receive scores?
Students will receive college reportable scores as part of several of our upcoming research and pilot opportunities. We expect the first reportable scores from the digital SAT will be released in late summer. We will share more information on pilots and research results as we have them later this year.
Will there be a separate experimental section and will it be voluntary? Will non-operational items be included in live sections?
The digital SAT Suite tests will have a small number of non-operational questions embedded within the assessments and that will not count toward students’ scores.
How many practice tests will be released initially? Over time, can we expect a library comparable to what is currently available?
We will share more information on practice tests later this summer. We expect to offer a comparable number of practice tests as we do now.
If you’re not completing the research studies until later this year, how can you be so confident that the scores will be valid/concordance won’t be necessary?
What the SAT measures is not changing: it will continue to measure the knowledge and skills that matter most for college and career readiness. Although our full set of planned research studies will not be complete until later this year, we have already conducted rigorous research studies and pretesting to gather information on the digital SAT as we progress through its development. We have studies planned to provide a direct link between the scales of the digital SAT and the paper and pencil SAT so that a separate concordance table won’t be required.
The NTPA will keep you apprised of future communications from College Board about the new SAT.