As the SAT and ACT transition to digital formats, parents should be aware of the upcoming changes. The College Board (TCB) announced plans to release a digital SAT this Fall and move to a digital-only format by spring 2024. On the other hand, the ACT already offers a digital administration of the test, but it has specific technical requirements.
Select schools currently offer the digital ACT, which closely mirrors the paper-and-pencil format through a Computer-Based Testing (CBT) model. Instead of using a test booklet and answer sheet, students utilize a school-issued laptop with tools like highlighting, magnifiers, calculators, and point-and-click functionality. Essentially, the test remains the same but is taken digitally.
In contrast, the Digital SAT will use a Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT) framework, differing from the ACT’s digital format. The ACT may continue using the CBT model through 2023 or even into 2024, while assessing the reception of the digital SAT with its adaptive format. They may also target students who are skeptical about digital testing platforms and educational technology.
So, what does this mean for the upcoming classes of 2024-2026?
Here’s a brief overview:
Class of 2024: Both the ACT and SAT will remain in paper-and-pencil format, with limited digital administration in some schools. It’s recommended to communicate with your school counseling team to understand your options and prepare for at least one test in spring using physical test booklets and answer sheets.
Class of 2025: This class will experience the digital PSAT in Fall 2023. Starting in 2024, the only option for taking the SAT will be in a computer-adaptive format. If you’re apprehensive about this shift, the ACT will predominantly remain in paper-and-pencil format and available year-round. Considering taking a practice ACT test early to determine your preparation strategy is advisable. Familiarizing yourself with the digital test format through The College Board’s online portal or other resources is also recommended.
Class of 2026: Expect changes in the testing landscape. The SAT will be digital, but it’s unclear whether the ACT will develop its own adaptive digital test or continue to offer paper-and-pencil tests. Focusing on academics, selecting courses carefully, and maintaining a good GPA are recommended as the testing landscape evolves.
In summary, there may be extensive discussions and developments in the coming months regarding the transition to digital testing formats and changes in testing requirements for college admissions. If you have questions or concerns, feel free to reach out for support. Stay updated on the latest developments in the admissions space while remaining focused on coursework and academic performance.