An adaptive test evolves in response to a student’s performance. Whereas the older SAT is static, with each student receiving the same test form, the new SAT will adjust the difficulty of the test content to best suit each student’s skill level.
The math portion and the Reading & Writing portion of the new SAT will each be divided into two modules. The first module will have a wide range of difficulty among the questions. Based on each student’s performance on the first set of modules, the second set of modules will be “High” and “Low,” with either more difficult or less difficult questions, respectively. This adaptive structure allows for a more precise measure of student skills, so the test can offer accurate scores with fewer questions.
Old SAT Structure – Static: With the traditional SAT, there is a wide variety of difficulties throughout the test. Some questions may be too simple or too difficult for a student. Many questions are needed so that one standardized test form can provide enough data on students across different skill levels.
New SAT Structure – Adaptive: With the adaptive, digital SAT, the first modules offer a range of difficulty. Students’ performances on the first modules determine if the next modules should be easier or more difficult.