The student news site of Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School

The New Dealer

The student news site of Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School

The New Dealer

The student news site of Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School

The New Dealer

Everything About The Digital SAT at FDR


This year is the first time the SAT was taken digitally! Here is some information about the digital SAT, you might not have known.

  •  The Digital SAT was designed to be an adaptive test, meaning that the test adapted to the student’s proficiency. The test adjusted its difficulty based on how students did in the first module of segments. The difficulty of the questions in the second module is based on how the student performed in the first module. This causes the students to experience an individualized test instead of a standardized test. 
  • The digital SAT was made shorter with fewer questions and a smaller time frame. The time given has decreased by one hour, making it 2 hours long compared to previous years where 3 hours were given.
  • The Digital SAT featured shorter reading passages. In comparison to the paper version of the SAT, the Digital SAT’s passages are mainly a paragraph long. 

To conclude an interview about the Digital SAT, we started by selecting a diverse group of individuals and questioned them about their impressions of the test. We prepared questions covering various aspects such as the challenges, benefits, thoughts, and predictions on the future scores. During the interview, we proposed open-ended questions and captured a range of opinions identifying three common insights. The responses were achieved through students who voluntarily expressed their opinions and will be kept anonymous.

Here are the results based on the questions:

What challenges did you encounter during the test?

“Challenges I encountered were adapting to the new digital setup. The calculator seemed like a downgrade from a standard Ti-84, and the mousepad that is installed in the laptop makes it hard to annotate quickly” (Student 1).

“The challenges I encountered on the day were managing my time well in the math section, but not too much in the English section. I had learned how to manage my time in the English section well, so I wouldn’t be stuck on it for a long time or for more than 1-2 minutes” (Student 2).

“Some challenges I encountered with the digital SAT are the following: I struggled with saving answers and submitting the exam itself. During the second module, it deleted my answers and I had to cancel my entire score as a whole (Student 3)”. 

“During the test, I faced multiple challenges that affected my focus. When taking the test, the computer was close to discharging. I told a teacher about it, but the solution to it took a while. I could have been at risk of losing my progress if it weren’t for one of the teachers’ quick thinking. Most computers were dead or close to discharge during test day. Students had to be moved and my focus was shifted to give the charger to another student. One last situation that brought my attention to the test was the teachers. They would talk in the quiet environment and some teachers would come and go to check up on a situation that already had a solution” (Student 4).

What benefits or accommodations were you provided with during the test?

“I was approved for no benefits or accommodations”(Student 1).

“Benefits I was provided with were the line reader tools in the exam, annotation tools, mark for review, cross out tool, etc.” (Student 2).

“No, I did not.”(Student 3).

“Some benefits that I was provided during the test were number 2 pencils and scrap paper. It was very necessary to me as the math section had too much information to solve in my mind. With the scrap paper, I was able to increase the chances of me having the correct answer on the test”(student 4).

Do you believe the test was conducted fairly?

“The test was and was not conducted fairly. Everything was conducted fairly until the test began. People ran into technical difficulties and the teachers were speaking to one another, distracting children from taking the exam properly” (Student 1).

“I think it was conducted fairly but the math section modulus for me was tricky and confusing and the practice tests on the blue book should be better to be more similar to the actual exam; there should be more practice tests added to the blue book” (Student 2).

“Somewhat, some of the testing officials or proctors were speaking during the exam. It felt unfair as we’re supposed to have a quiet environment” (Student 3).

“I believe that the test was fairly conducted considering the section length and timing. Before, the SAT on paper had an essay section which required more time. Since the test was online with no essays, however, the time was shortened and remained in a good position to answer 98 questions” (Student 4).

What is your opinion on the adaptivity of the test questions?

“The adaptivity of the test questions was fair until the second module of the math section. Me and my friends had gotten to the harder second math module, and it was nothing compared to what you were supposed to study for, making the questions difficult”(Student 1).

“The adaptivity seemed not too bad as I thought for English, but math was quite difficult and required a lot of time which we did not receive” (Student 2).

“They’re fine, honestly. The math section for the first module is a hit or miss with the questions, but personally, the English was great (Student 3).”

“The adaptivity of the test questions, in my opinion, was good. In the section, questions had the same format which prepared my brain to look for certain things after reading the multiple choice. In the math section, although some questions were difficult, what needed to be solved was plausible with the information given” (Student 4).

Do you have any predictions for your future score based on the test?

“Based on the test, my prediction for my future score will be 1230. I’ve taken parts in the past and received around this score, so I believe I will score around there” (Student 1).

“I’m hoping that my future score is at least a 1200-1300” (Student 2).

“No, my score was canceled due to technical difficulties” (Student 3).

“I believe that my future score will be in the range of average to high, based on the test. Several questions gave context clues that helped provide the answers. Other questions were based on math knowledge that took more time to do. In both math and reading sections, however, questions became more difficult and took longer to answer, reducing the percentage of getting the right answers to other questions” (Student 4).

Based on these responses we can safely conclude that there were three major insights expressed concerning the Digital SAT which were the problems with the environment during the test, technical difficulties faced by many, and the concerns about the adaptability of the questions in the second module. Students often expressed their frustration with the environment in which they were taking the test in, as they had difficulty focusing because of background conversations, long bathroom lines, and technical difficulties that caused conflicts. Furthermore, some students got their tests invalidated, because their answers were not submitted for the entire sections, and laptops were not charged making it inconvenient and troubling for the students. Thirdly, most students found that the English section’s adaptability was more fair than the Math’s, as they were provided with more time and fewer difficult questions. Overall, the difficulty of the sections was based on how well they did in the first section, this helped students realize their strengths and weaknesses.

This was FDR’s first attempt at an exam like this, so there were challenges and obstacles. However, we now know what we can improve on for the next exam administrations. In addition, students can now use this experience to improve for their next test date. 

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