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The New Digital SAT: A Smooth Experience, But Opaque Scoring Raises Concerns

When the College Board announced that the SAT would be administered digitally for the first time in March 2023, many students and educators were anxious about how the new format would affect test-taking and scoring. But now that the scores are in and the feedback has been gathered, it seems that the digital interface was smooth and experienced almost no reported glitches, save for a few minor server or connectivity related issues at a handful of testing sites.

The mean score for the digital SAT was 1170, which is significantly higher than the traditional paper-based SAT average of approximately 1060 (with international students historically scoring slightly higher). Student feedback has been mixed, with many noting that they seemed to get the more challenging second modules, which suggests that they performed better on the first modules.

One area of concern, however, is the opaque scoring of the digital SAT. Unlike the paper-based version, there's no way to determine how many questions were answered incorrectly or how the raw score is calculated. Moreover, the top end of the curve seems unforgiving, leaving many students and educators feeling frustrated

and uncertain about how the scores are being calculated.

Despite these concerns, the preparation questions for the digital SAT seem to be in line with the actual exam questions, and there was little to no variation between the practice interface and the actual interface. Overall, it seems that the College Board has successfully transitioned the SAT to a digital format, but there are still some concerns that need to be addressed regarding the scoring system.

In the end, the digital SAT may prove to be a more efficient and convenient way for students to take the test, but only time will tell if the College Board can address the concerns about the scoring and ensure that the digital version is just as fair and accurate as its paper-based counterpart.

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