As I was taking the infamous test that determines much of one’s future, so it is claimed, I realize how very obsolete the test process is. You get two booklets to arrange on a half-sized desk along with your calculator, while you sit in the same hard plastic seat for 4 hours, having only 3 5-minute breaks. Not only is this a logistic nightmare, it detracts time one has for the test just to get their items in order.
After completing the test, I thought about this a little more, and thus! Here are some reasons why I believe the SAT should go electronic:
- Eco-friendliness – Think about it: On any given testing day, each person taking the standard SAT is given an 8 or so page answer booklet, and a 70 or so page test booklet. Now, consider the thousands of students times these two items. That’s a lot of pages! While I’m not entirely sure what becomes of these items after scores are calculated, it certainly seems like a lot of paper is used if each year’s test is different.
- Comfort – Instead of being stuck with the conditions of your room in which to test, why don’t we set it up a bit like electronic voting machines? It’d have to be modified so one could sit, sure, but the collapsible “wings” of the machine could help to deter cheating, a retractable table could be stowed just underneath the screen, to allow for scrap paper to be used, and also as a spot to put one’s calculator. Also, everyone would have a level playing field, logistically.
- Cheater Deterrent – One can be ejected from the SAT Testing Center and have their scores obliterated if they go back to or look ahead at other test sections. Well, why not establish the SAT electronic program to lock users out of doing this? Now that can’t happen! Ah.
- Erasures – Say you don’t fully erase an answer that you messed up. BAM! Costs you a point. What if you mark two answers? SHOOP! Unscorable, no point there. An electronic program could use radio buttons to make this problem nonexistent.
- “But it won’t work because of [argument]!” – I understand that it may be a bit strange on some counts to go fully electronic, so here’s my list-in-a-list about possible problems:
- The Essay – Well, testers could have the option of writing by electronic tablet, or this part of the test could be kept papered. Either way, handwriting is there.
- Security – There are risks with everything; however, the SAT electronic machines could be cut off from Internet contact, simply running the test program and collecting the data in a host terminal. That data is then sent to the SAT Scoring Center, where it is handled appropriately.
- The Cursive Part – Okay, really, who uses cursive anymore. I say we slap a big ol’ radio button next to the statement they want students to write. It’s just like an EULA – no one reads it anyway, they just click ‘yes’.
Well, I hope I’m making some form of sense here, and not coming across as a raving nutball. While there’s sure to be some kinks at first, the process, especially for our modernized world, would not prove to be a painful transition, as students taking the test are more attuned to electronic mediums anyway!
So, in 40 years from now, I bet CollegeBoard will get around to this. That’s a hopeful estimate.
Let The Paper SAT Die
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