Face Off: Online SAT is a bad idea

Freshman Madeline Liter

Freshman Madeline Liter

Madeline Liter, Reporter

The College Board, which administers the SATs, has said farewell to Number-2 pencils and announced in January that standardized testing from here on out will be entirely digital. While going completely online has the benefits of quicker test sessions and less paper distribution, new online formats can be limiting and confusing.

The SATs have been predominantly paper-pencil since 1926, so with tests being abruptly changed to digital, it can be stressful for teachers to have to alter their SAT prep to accommodate the new format of testing. With such a lengthy prep and such a short amount of time, teachers are already under the stress of preparing their students, but with this new format teachers also now have to adjust the platforms that they prepare their students on.

Transitioning to a digital format from a test that has been primarily taken on paper can leave students a bit dumbfounded. Change isn’t easy in any situation, but this dramatic shift can be a disadvantage to some test takers. 

With there being pros and cons on both sides of the argument of the SATs being strictly digital, students should have the option to choose between the two formats. Some testers work well with the traditional set up of the standardized test and some favor the newer structures, but with these completely opposite formats, it would be fair to give students the choice.

Test anxiety is real and is a form of performance anxiety according to the Anxiety and Depression Society of America. This can be especially costly on a high stake test. 

A study done by Jennifer Heissel of the Naval PostGraduate School along with other scholars showed that there was 15% more cortisol in students’ systems before the standardized test than normal.  With SATs already giving students high levels of anxiety, the choice of their test format would assist in reducing this stress.