SAT Suite

An Update for College Board Members on the Digital SAT

Earlier this month, College Board launched the new, digital SAT® to SAT Weekend test takers across the United States and students taking the SAT through our SAT School Day program in schools across the country. The digital SAT provides a shorter test, with more time per question, and an overall streamlined testing experience for students and educators. The March 9 SAT Weekend administration completes the transition of the SAT Suite of Assessments to digital testing. 

We’re deeply grateful to our colleagues in K–12 and higher ed who have helped make the move to digital a smooth transition. 

Here’s what people are saying:  

“I thought that it was an easier process than the paper SAT,” said Emily, a student in New Jersey. “It took less stamina and since there was a timer right in front of you, I thought that was very useful. I felt that it was less stressful. This format allowed me enough time to get through each section and feel confident in my answers.” 

“It was excellent because it was fast paced and I loved how the test was adaptive, meaning if you got questions right it’ll be more difficult and vice versa,” said Antonio from Florida. “Overall, the quality and structure of it was amazing!! I love the digital version so much more!”  

“I was very nervous leading up to this, but the experience was very easy and self-explanatory,” said Doreen Ciccarini, a paraprofessional and proctor of 17 years. “I didn’t have any issues. Digital is easier and quicker, I would 100% do it again.” 

By the numbers  

College Board will report on annual participation and performance data by graduating cohort in the fall as we do each year, but here’s a snapshot of preliminary facts and figures on the student experience with digital: 

  • We release scores to students for the March 9 SAT Weekend administration today, and analysis shows that overall performance of March 2024 SAT Weekend test takers is consistent with performance on previous SAT Weekend paper and pencil administrations.  
  • More than 200,000 students took the digital SAT at 3,000 test centers in 173 countries during the March 9 administration.  
  • 99.8% of SAT Weekend digital test takers successfully completed their exam and submitted their results via Bluebook™, College Board’s new digital testing application. In any administration, we see a small number of test takers who do not complete the exam due to issues like illness or being dismissed for behavior.  
  • 75% of students who took the SAT on March 9 reported a good or excellent experience with the digital exam.  
  • More than 770,000 students have already taken the digital SAT, PSAT™ 10, and PSAT™ 8/9 during the school day since the 8-week in-school testing window opened on March 4. 
  • This is in addition to the more than 300,000 students who have taken the digital SAT on the weekend after we launched it internationally last March. 

More about the SAT Suite’s use of adaptive testing 

The digital SAT Suite uses a multistage adaptive design. Adaptive exams allow for an accurate assessment of a student’s knowledge in a shorter amount of time with the same reliability. Students likely already have experience with adaptive exams, as they are widely used. The NWEA MAP Growth assessment, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), and some state assessments are adaptive.  

For the digital SAT Suite, each test section (Reading and Writing, Math) is administered in two stages called modules, each of which contains half of the section’s questions (27 questions per module for Reading and Writing, 22 questions per module for Math). Students have half of the section time (32 minutes per module for Reading and Writing, 35 minutes per module for Math) to work through all of the module’s questions, allowing them to skip questions, flag ones to come back to, and change answers before time runs out. Once the time for the first module ends, the second module begins. The questions students are given in the second module depend on how they performed on the questions in the first module and their score on the section is calculated based on how they did on both modules.  

Students can expect their score on the multistage adaptive test to be comparable to the score they would have received on a linear (i.e., nonadaptive) paper and pencil test. The big benefit for students: the test is nearly an hour shorter since adaptive testing is able to home in on a student’s knowledge level more efficiently than a fixed paper test can.

To further support students through this transition and help them get used to the new format, we have provided full-length practice tests since 2022 and recently released two additional full-length practice tests (for a total of six) in the Bluebook student testing app. Taking practice tests in Bluebook allows students to get the full digital experience and familiarize themselves with app functionality, test content, and adaptive format.