The student news site of West Chicago Community High School

Wildcat Chronicle

The student news site of West Chicago Community High School

Wildcat Chronicle

The student news site of West Chicago Community High School

Wildcat Chronicle

[EDITORIAL] Digitalizing the SAT was necessary

For the last 90+ years, the Scholastic Aptitude Test format has gone through minor changes, but in 2021, international schools began to implement a digital test for students. Now, the digital format has come to Illinois.
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Photo by Karidja Monjolo
No more packets: the SAT switched to a digital format in 2024.

Bill Clinton. Will Smith. Bill Gates. Jesse Eisenberg. Scarlett Johansson. What do all these people have in common? Wealth? Fame? Success?

Yes, but no. The real answer is that for all of their fortune, they could not avoid the inevitable: the Standardized Aptitude Test.

Today, juniors at West Chicago Community High School spent hours applying their knowledge to the SAT via district-provided Chromebooks.

Now, we are not here to get into whether the SAT should be mandated at all. For thoughts on that subject, look no further than our esteemed coworker’s opinion piece, which explores the SAT’s history of inequities. However, we are here to discuss whether the move from paper to digital was warranted.

Since the 1920s, the SAT has found itself on paper. Sure, the test experienced a few changes as time went on, but it was only this year that American schools and students transitioned to taking the test digitally. The digital test is also a complete rework, and affected how students both prepared and took the exam.

The digitalized SAT is 46 minutes shorter, now lasting 2 hours and 14 minutes. It is entirely individualized, pulling questions from a large question bank. The second half of each section adapts based on a student’s performance in the first half. T

Additionally, the reading/writing sections now use one short passage for each question rather than ten questions per long passage. Finally, the math section allows Desmos calculator usage on all questions – so students no longer need to bring their own calculators or worry about back-up batteries.

Despite the relatively uniform acceptance of the switch to digital from the student body, there were still concerns about the stability of the testing platform. Since the test depends on computers and the internet to function properly, tech issues and power outages had the potential to interrupt the testing process, requiring more time for staff and students to troubleshoot. Some students and teachers also voiced concerns that the digital test might make cheating on the SAT easier or more common.

And, of course, there was the question of the impact on humanity as a whole.

Senior Carlos Allen’s honest reaction to seeing SAT on paper (he enjoys the beauty of the internet) photo by Miley Pegg

“On the record, I think the SAT was better on paper and I think we’re sacrificing humanity in the name of efficiency,” English teacher Steve Aiello said.

All of these concerns proved unfounded as students in grades 9-11 poured into the building to complete their tests this morning – without major hiccup.

Streamlining is essential to improve organizational processes. Sure, the old format of pencil and paper was fine, but teenagers/students prefer online formats. While the old SAT style was simple, we are far more technically savvy than students of yesteryear. Paper and pen are simply just boring: today’s teens would much rather take out our Chromebooks instead of a packet.

According to The Princeton Review“Some test-takers may find the digital format more familiar and comfortable, especially if they are accustomed to using digital devices. Others may prefer the traditional paper-pencil format. For many students, the shorter digital SAT will be helpful.”

Indeed it was. And even with the recent change in SAT testing, students – ourselves included – still had paper accessible for full use of brain power, especially during the math section. 

So, good luck to all of us who took the SAT this morning. For now, take a break from staring at a screen – until tomorrow, when the ISA comes creepin’ along. After all, the latter is essential to college admission.

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About the Contributors
Karidja Monjolo
Karidja Monjolo, Managing Editor
Karidja Monjolo is a senior, and this is her third year on the Wildcat Chronicle. She participates in WeGo Drama, Speech Team, Roar, and more! Her hobbies include reading, writing, and listening to music. In the future Karidja would like to pursue a career in Broadcast Journalism.
Miley Pegg
Miley Pegg, Senior Reporter
Sophomore Miley Pegg plays guitar and is on the cheer team, but her inspiration for taking Journalism stems from the show “Gilmore Girls”, one of her favorite shows. When she is not busy with school and extracurriculars, she enjoys spending time with her two cats, Squishy and Figgy, both of whom are named after Disney characters, but neither of whom get along. Although a far cry from Stars Hollow, if Miley could live anywhere in the world, she would live in Colorado. 
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