New changes to the SAT exam are a temporary relief to students

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Dayeon Lee

Online Editor Srishti Kaushik believes the new and improved SAT exam is only a small step in the right direction to reform the education system.

Srishti Kaushik, Online Editor

Early in 2022, the College Board announced many changes to the SAT exam, which has long been a part of high school students’ college applications. Some of the major changes include the test shifting completely online and the length decreasing from three to two hours. 

The SAT has a long history of adjustments to the exam content, but this new announcement has brought the most radical changes by far. It’s clear from the choices the College Board made that they are trying to appeal to students in a time where exam scores like the SAT and ACT are losing importance in the college admissions process.

With the lack of SAT testing sites due to the pandemic, about 75% of schools have switched to test-optional or test-blind during the 2021-22 admissions process. This has left the College Board scrambling to regain credibility and relevance for the SAT—a test that brings in a significant portion of the College Board’s $1.1 billion in annual revenue.

To be honest, I’m truly glad to see it. As a first-generation student in the US, I remember the shock my family and I felt as we paid the College Board fees left and right for exams and sent test scores to colleges. This part of high school has become an industry that milks money out of students who are just trying to begin their lives.

Standardized testing has been challenged recently, as colleges are finally taking into consideration that not everyone can be evaluated the same. That’s why while these changes to the SAT are improving opportunities for students, it doesn’t save the SAT from a future where testing and exams could be completely reformed; none of these changes address the big issue. The SAT has created a world where a student’s ability to achieve a good score is influenced by their wealth, privilege and race

On the other hand, I find it hard to criticize the recent changes due to the lengths the College Board has gone to to make the test more available and inclusive to all students. The College Board promised a shorter test, comprising smaller reading passages and a conjoined math section. Students won’t have to rush to fill in answer sheets or sit around waiting for the proctors to complete their tedious procedures.

However, the new auto-save feature to prevent students from losing their progress due to internet issues does not solve all the problems with the digitized test. Many schools across the country (and internationally) cannot afford devices for students who do not have personal devices. The cost of each test remains $55, which adds up, considering students usually end up taking the test at least twice. How is the College Board planning on dealing with these significantly larger issues that trace back to the core of the current education system, which has now become an industry?

The SAT is losing relevance but is certainly not becoming obscure in the near future. In the meantime, students can enjoy the temporary relief these new changes bring and hope for better days for upcoming high schoolers.

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