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How fully digital SAT’s new ‘adaptive’ sections dumb down college admissions test

how-fully-digital-sat’s-new-‘adaptive’-sections-dumb-down-college-admissions-test
How fully digital SAT’s new ‘adaptive’ sections dumb down college admissions test

Pencils down.

Students taking the SAT will see some big changes this week as the college admissions exam goes fully digital and adopts an “adaptive” testing method — meaning the difficulty of questions they face will depend on how they performed in prior parts of the assessment.

“Each test section (Reading and Writing, and Math) is divided into two equal-length, separately timed parts called modules,” according to the College Board, which creates and administers the SAT.

“You’ll answer a set of questions in the first module before moving on to the next. The questions you’re given in the second module depend on how you performed on the first module.”

The first module “consists of a broad mix of easy, medium and hard questions across a range of domains. The second will feature “on average, either of higher difficulty or of lower difficulty than that in the first module,” the organization explained.

Students who are given an easier go in the second portion of the SAT “won’t be disadvantaged,” the College Board insists.

“You’ll be presented with questions tailored for your abilities. You won’t be presented with questions that are much too hard or much too easy,” it said according to its website.

“You can be confident that you’re going to end up with an accurate score. Your score will reflect your achievement and skills based on your answers to questions in both modules.”

SAT prep books at a bookstore.

The first fully digital SAT will debut on March 9. Getty Images

Screenshot about the easier section on the College Board website.

Students who are given an easier go in the second portion of the SAT “won’t be disadvantaged,” the College Board insists. collegeboard.org

Graphic showing the differences in the tests.

The three sections are divided into two modules and the second set of questions will either easier or harder depending on how well the student did in the previous section. edisonos

However, the organization does not explain if students who receive harder questions in the back half of the sections will be penalized if they answer wrong — or how the SAT remains standardized with varying questions among test-takers.

“No matter which module you’re routed to, the most important thing to keep in mind is to do your best,” the College Board said on its site.

“Your score will be accurate, and you won’t get a lower score just because you saw a lower difficulty set of questions.”

The Post has reached out to the College Board for comment about the changes, which are slated to roll out Saturday.

Students are still required to take the SAT in person. They can use their own laptops or tablets, borrow a device from their school or make a prior arrangement to use a loaner from the College Board.

A student taking a practice test.

However, it does not explain if those receiving the harder set of questions will be “disadvantaged” as they could answer more questions wrong due to the higher difficulty, nor how the test remains standardized with varying questions among test-takers. Getty Images

Scores will be calculated for the entire section based on both modules, and the full SAT will still be on a 1600-point scale.

The adaptive testing change also drops the test’s duration to two hours from three — and students will get their results within days instead of weeks.

The changes to the SAT come as elite schools — such as Ivy Leagues Brown University, Yale University and Dartmouth College — are now walking back being test-optional, which became popular during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A studying taking a test.

The changes to the standardized test come as elite schools – such as, Ivy Leagues Brown University, Yale University and Dartmouth College – are now walking back on being test optional, which became popular during the pandemic. AFP via Getty Images

Dartmouth was the first school to reverse its decision on Feb. 5

Yale announced its reversal on Feb. 22, saying it will now require first-year and transfer student to submit either SAT, ACT, AP or IB exam scores in their application.

“For students attending high schools with fewer resources, applications without scores can inadvertently leave admissions officers with scant evidence of their readiness for Yale,” Dean of Undergraduate Jeremiah Quinlan said.

“When students attending these high schools include a score with their application — even a score below Yale’s median range — they give the committee greater confidence that they are likely to achieve academic success in college.”

Brown announced Tuesday that it would follow suit, stating similarly to Yale that without them, it’s hard for admissions to determine if students will thrive at the school.

However, Brown Provost Francis J. Doyle III insisted that those admitted during the test-optional period are not struggling compared to their peers.

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