The SAT will be available online for students in the United States from 2024. The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) exam will be taken completely online next year. Many other states already have full online exams – and in response to the epidemic, undergraduate entrance and career certification exams have also moved online.
But as high-stakes exams are converted to an all-digital format, experts warn that all students who are as digitally illiterate as their peers can read at a disadvantage. As the trend towards full online exams continues, education leaders must consider how to ensure digital equity for students participating in these exams.
A survey published in 2019 by Ben Becks and James Cowan from the nonprofit American Institute for Research found that students who took the Massachusetts state online exam performed on average worse than students with similar skills who took the same exam on paper. The difference was less dramatic for second-time examinees, suggesting that familiarity with the digital format played a key role in the inconsistency.
“Depending on their access to computers at home and at school (computer-based testing) there may be systemic differences in students’ level of comfort, ”the researchers wrote.
The differences were quite obvious, about five months equivalent to learning math and 11 months বেশি more than a full school year ে in the English language industry. Students from low-income families, those with disabilities, and those who learned English were unequally affected.