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What Does the Future Hold for the Education Industry in the Wake of the SAT Reinvention

We all know that the College Board overhauled the pattern for SAT exams last month. Let’s look at the Key Changes before moving further:

  • The SAT Exams will now be digital instead of a pen and paper exam.
  • Exam duration to be reduced from 3 hours to 2 hours.
  • Students can take the exam on a personal or school-issued device, but in the presence of a proctor.

In November, 2021, College Board piloted the new pattern, and

  • 80% of students responded that they found it to be less stressful 
  • 100% of educators reported having a positive experience.

Some Context:

SAT has been infamous to favor the kids from high income families, here’s why:

  • Kids from high income families can take the test several times that results in improved scores, which may not be true for the kids from low income families.
  • Students studying in better schools have an added advantage in college applications. These schools have a higher number of AP classes, better tutors, and standardized test prep, that lead to better grades.
  • SAT also has a provision to opt for special privileges like extra time and private space to take the test. But these come with additional incurred charges which can only be afforded by students from high-income strata.

According to the Washington Post, in 2014, “students from families earning more than $200,000 a year average a combined score of 1,714, while students from families earning under $20,000 a year average a combined score of 1,326.”

SAT 2022

Changes in 2015:

After a lot of uproar and contempt about the discrimination against Low-Income And Minority Student Admissions through the SAT exams, College Board introduced a string of changes and overhauled the exam pattern. 

General Changes to SAT

In addition to this, it also partnered with Khan Academy to make world-class SAT practice resources free for all students for the first time ever.

Subsequently, thousands of students shared their stories about Official SAT Practice and the ways the program helped them improve their SAT scores. 

SAT Exams Test Prep Signups at Khan Academy

Result of the Changes in 2015:

The use of free study material in addition to the easier exam pattern resulted in improved applicants, and also better grades of the students.

According to a Smithsonian Mag report-

No. of Students taking SAT Over Time
No. of Students taking SAT Over Time

Khan Academy also conducted a research– 

Action: 545,000 SAT test-takers were surveyed from the class of 2019. 

Outcome: Students who used Official SAT Practice for six or more hours scored 39 points more than students who did not use Official SAT Practice (a .20 effect size).

SAT scores Report

In the light of this comparative study, let’s look at-

What is the Expected Impact of the new SAT Changes in 2023:

In a November pilot launch of the digital version, 80% of participants found the new format to be “less stressful” than the paper test, and 100% of educators reported having a positive experience, according to College Board. 

Other Effects Could Be:

  • Reduced student stress due to the difficulty level problem being addressed by the College Board.
  • Another pain point was the financial limitation of the students or the equity factor. Although, College Board incorporated free test prep, fee waivers and weekday testing, the educators are still divided between access to testing devices and access.

The digitization of the test, in addition to other factors like the reduction in difficulty level and length, raises other pertinent questions like,

The Adaptability of the Students for taking the Digital Test.

Expert opinions on this one are divided.

SAT Expert Opinion

Only time will tell!

Now, The Next Question Is What Can the New Changes Mean for the Education Industry?

  1. For School Districts- Include Better Online Test Prep
    General Changes to the SAT (2)
  2. For E-Learning Companies- Expand and Grow

    E-Learning Market Size is Expected to Grow at a CAGR of 10.85% by 2025

    E-Learning Market Size

    The changes in the exam SAT pattern and structure further suggest that the need for e-learning companies is going to continually increase.

    Evelyn SAT Analysis

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That’s all for now folks. We will be back next month with another interesting story.


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