top of page

From Pencil to Pixel: NHP Testing Goes Digital

By Fatima Naysa

Students at NHP find themselves in the middle of a rapidly evolving landscape amidst the transition to digital testing in educational settings. The move away from traditional paper examinations to online assessments marks a significant departure from the conventional methods of evaluating a student’s performance. While some embrace the change with enthusiasm, others approach it with uncertainty. 

Starting in May, College Board will be offering schools the option to have a digital version of a select few Advanced Placement exams. This includes AP Computer Science Principles, AP English Language and Composition, AP English Literature and Composition, AP European History, AP Seminar, AP U.S. History and AP World History. At New Hyde Park Memorial, the introduction of the digital AP Computer Science Principles exam is a significant step in this direction. 

The test isn’t even a good measure of if one knows the topics or not...

Students will be taking the exam on Bluebook, a platform familiar from prior SAT and PSAT testing, offering features such as annotation tools, reference sheets and timers. Students are able to preview the testing format before the AP exam and familiarize themselves with the interface and its functions. 

“Looking at the preview of the AP CSP exam, I felt that it was very user-friendly and does the same as traditional testing,” sophomore Jisha Jinu said.  “In the future, I believe digital testing will be more common as the school is already starting to implement more and more digital testing.”

In the midst of these advancements in standardized testing, the SAT and PSAT exams have also undergone significant transformations. Some changes include that the exam duration has been reduced to approximately two hours and 15 minutes, with more time allocated per question. Reading passages are shorter, with one question per paragraph, and the math section now allows the use of an online graphing calculator throughout. 

Additionally, students received their scores after a couple of days instead of weeks. The SAT and the PSAT alike have shifted to a multistage adaptive testing where, as one proceeds throughout the test, the difficulty of the questions will depend on how one answered the previous questions. The PSAT was administered in October of 2023 and the first time for the new all-digital SAT exam took place on March 9, 2024. Students have mixed feelings about the alterations of testing formats and structure. 

“Preparing for the digital SAT was incredibly different as all the hacks and tips were just how to get around the question and didn’t show how to actually understand the concepts,” junior Sophia Jacob said. “Now you can mainly do the math section just by knowing how to properly use the calculator, which is scary because the test isn’t even a good measure of if one knows the topics or not.” 

“I believe it's definitely a step in the right direction,” junior Aaron Koshy said. “As can be seen all around us nowadays, technology is everywhere. It's becoming more and more important and will continue this upward trend as time goes on. I did indeed take the March SAT. It was a different feel for sure. I would like to say I felt more relaxed and comfortable but I don't exactly know if that's because of the digital format or if it's because the March SAT exam was the second one that I was taking.” 

“Digital testing on standardized tests like the SAT is probably the worst idea to exist. In my opinion, I find digital testing to be distracting, difficult to type down and process my thoughts, and time deficient,” junior Katelyn Vadakkan said. “Initially, I anticipated that transitioning from traditional to digital testing would be advantageous. However, my perception quickly changed when I observed that my performance on traditional SAT practices exceeded that of digital SAT practices.” 

Additionally, this year seventh and eighth grade students will take this spring’s state tests online. 

I feel like the state tests are better on paper because I feel like I’m more used to it on paper. It feels weird digital and there’s too many different buttons. It can get very confusing.” seventh grader Valerie Chia said. 

By Ann Aphraim

These testing changes have students and teachers alike wondering which exam will be the next test to go digital.

Standardized exam proctoring has also changed, requiring proctors to adjust accordingly. The digital test administration roles, tools and procedures differ from paper testing.  Digital test administration depends on the Test Day Toolkit, a web application. All test coordinators, proctors and monitors need to access it on test day. Proctors use it to take attendance, read the script, start the test, monitor student progress and report irregularities. Additionally proctors can send students to the help room, where a technology monitor will assist them with simple troubleshooting.

As standardized testing evolves towards digital formats, the future of education stands on the brink of profound transformation. This shift not only offers opportunities to improve assessment practices and meet the diverse needs of students more effectively but also poses challenges in terms of preparation and test taking.


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page