It's another sad day for the pencil industry but a great one for students and educators!

Let's flashback to a couple of weeks ago. The Iowa Board of Regents recently voted to let the state's three major universities go "test-optional", meaning students would not be required to submit test results from the ACT or SAT for admission to those schools (but could still choose to do so). That's not necessarily a thing nationwide, yet, but a new announcement about one of those tests is.

For those who choose, or are still required to take the SAT, no more filling in the bubbles! KWWL, via CNN, reports that starting in 2024, the SAT is going all-digital.

Leveling (and modernizing) the playing field for college admissions

The College Board is a not-for-profit membership organization "committed to excellence and equity in education." They are the group that made this announcement on Tuesday, January 25, saying "the digital SAT will be easier to take, easier to give, and more relevant."

Priscilla Rodriguez, vice president of College Readiness Assessments at the College Board, went on to say, "with input from educators and students, we are adapting to ensure we continue to meet their evolving needs."

The test will also be shortened from 3 hours to 2. Shorter, easier, more relevant, and more tech-friendly? Count almost everyone in. They pilot-tested the new digital format last November and 80 percent of students said they found it "less stressful" while teachers gave it a 100 percent approval rating.

Multiple factors played into the timing

Part of the reason this decision comes now also has to do with the increasing educational stressors brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Other institutions are joining universities in the Hawkeye state in dropping their test requirements and believe it or not, the Hollywood "college admissions scandal" of a few years back was somewhat of a factor, too, after showing how easy it is for the rich, powerful, and connected among us to "rig", for lack of a better word, the testing system.

What a time to be alive, indeed.

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