SAT to move online in 2024 amid growing number of colleges no longer requiring exam

Jordan Mahr, a third year biology major at OSU, models studying SAT preparatory materials. The SAT exam is considered by many students to be one of the most important tests and factors in regards to college admissions.

Hayden Lohr, News Reporter

The SAT exam will become online in 2024, however, many colleges, including Oregon State University, already do not require it for admissions due to controversy surrounding the idea that the exam is biased.

According to the College Board website, the SAT is a comprehensive exam that identifies students’ readiness for college. The SAT is a multiple choice exam that takes three hours to complete with a reading and writing section, a mathematics section and an optional essay section. The test has a maximum score of 1600.

According to the Princeton Review, a college admission services company that offers tutoring, test preparation and other services, most college admissions require either the SAT or the ACT, another exam that tests for college-readiness. 

In 2024, according to an announcement from College Board on Jan. 25, the SAT will move online in order to stay relevant and to modernize. The material, however, will go through minor changes. The exam—excluding essay section—will be shortened from three hours to two, and the math section will allow calculator use throughout its entirety.

According to College Board data from 2013, SAT scores are highly related to family income, as households earning less than $20,000 a year consistently score lower than households earning $200,000 or more. This is likely due to people with more money investing in the test preparatory system, which had a $2.5 billion market in 2009, according to Nyack News & Views.

In 2021, OSU became one of the colleges and universities that recently stopped requiring SAT exams for admission. 

“The research shows that [the SAT] disadvantages students who are already disadvantaged,” said Noah Buckley, the director of Undergraduate Admissions at OSU. “If you are a student of means and your parents have gone to college and those sorts of things—you have access to test prep, you probably come from a more educated family, all those things give you an advantage when you take the test. If we are using a test score, in part at least, to determine who gets in and who doesn’t, we are immediately going to disadvantage students who don’t do as well on the tests as a whole.”

According to the 2013 College Board data, in addition to the financial bias, Asian and white students score higher than other ethnicities, while Black and Hispanic students have lower scores.

According to Haily Betts, an agricultural major at OSU who did not take the SAT before coming to the university, it is good that OSU has stopped using the test for admissions. 

“I think we should get rid of the SAT, it just doesn’t make sense,” Betts said. “We have grades from high school, extracurriculars and so many other ways to decide
[college admissions].”

According to The Washington Post, there are concerns about academic dishonesty in an online SAT exam, but College Board said it can offer the SATs online and maintain the integrity of the test.

Although The Washington Post said the new format for the SAT will still take place in testing centers due to concerns over long term broadband access, according to The Guardian, concerns still exist due to youth being more familiar and using tech better than adults.

“I think whoever made this decision to put it online would know that people will cheat,” said Hunter Mckenzie Calvert, an environmental science major at OSU.

According to Buckley, it doesn’t matter to OSU how academically honest the SAT is since it is not used in admissions.

“Another thing to remember with OSU is that historically we have had the capacity to admit any student that we think could be successful here,” Buckley said. “You think about a more highly selective school, they can’t admit all students who qualify, they traditionally have looked for anything they could use to distinguish between students—when all applicants are 4.0s, what do you have? All you have is test scores. But we’ve never really been in that situation where we needed to turn away students who could be successful. So to us the whole test score thing was kind of easy.”