High school students will be able to take the SAT again starting Saturday, August 29, according to an announcement from the College Board. After the August test date, there will be additional weekend administrations of the SAT every month through the end of 2020.
This announcement means that the June 6 SAT test date, which was previously scheduled, has been canceled.
To make up for the canceled in-school SAT test days, which are held during the week, the College Board intends to offer free in-school tests to high school students again this fall. Many high schools have already expressed intent to administer these in-school tests, which are particularly important for low-income students.
Eligible students will still be able to receive a fee waiver for the weekend SATs as well, according to the College Board.
“When students in school take an SAT for free this fall, they will get on the radar of all colleges and can use the score in college application,” said David Coleman, College Board’s CEO. “We know from research that taking the SAT in school makes it more likely for students to apply and to go to college.”
If it turns out that schools are not yet ready to open in the fall, the College Board is prepared to offer a digital SAT test that students can take at home, something the organization has already done with its Advanced Placement (AP) exams. The at-home SATs would be simple, secure, accessible to all and still valid for use in college admissions, according to the College Board.
“We would much prefer that schools reopen, but we are ready to innovate and deliver in the unlikely case we need to,” said Coleman.
The organization has created a database of more than 320 districts, and is partnering with them to provide devices and internet access to their students.
“We know students and educators are worried about how the coronavirus may disrupt the college admissions process, and we want to do all we can to help alleviate that anxiety during this very demanding time,” explained Coleman. “Our first principle with the SAT and all our work must be to keep families and students safe. The second principle is to make the SAT as widely available as possible for students who wish to test, regardless of the economic or public health circumstances.”
Students will be able to register to take the SAT starting May 1.
About 1 million high school juniors who were registered to take the SAT this spring lost their opportunity to do so. They will get top priority, according to the College Board.
And to make sure that every student who wants to take an SAT has the opportunity to do so, the College Board is calling on its member high schools and colleges, as well as local communities, to open up as potential testing centers.
It is important to note, though, that In light of COVID-19 affecting students’ abilities to take admissions tests, many colleges and universities have dropped their SAT/ACT requirements for at least the fall of 2021. Among them are all of the institutions in the University of California system, all public universities in Oregon, Boston University, Tufts University and many others.
They join a long list of institutions that have made SAT/ACT optional in recent years in recognition that standardized tests are unfair to low-income and first-generation students. Currently, there are over 1,000 four-year colleges and universities in the United States that do not require SAT/ACT scores for fall 2021 admission, according to the nonprofit organization FairTest.
SATs, however, can serve as valuable tools. They give students an opportunity to stand out among their peers and earn scholarships that would help students pay for school.
“Tests like the SAT … provide another vehicle for you, the student, to demonstrate your academic understanding,” said Kristina Wong Davis, vice provost for enrollment management at Purdue University. “When utilized in context, these tests are an important part of the college application process. The tests are not a stand-alone measure upon which we measure any admissions decision, but rather SAT tests scores are best used when taken as part of a holistic admissions process that so many of us use and employ.”
Coleman stressed the importance of college admissions officers being flexible and understanding amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He said he supports colleges and universities who take the public health crisis into account when considering test scores, grades and extracurricular activities in the coming year.
“There has never been an event, at least that I can recall, that has laid bare as clearly the divisions in our society,” said Coleman.
We know the students hit hardest are most often those with fewer resources, he added. “That’s why the College Board fully supports admissions officers at our member colleges who have said that the circumstances of the public health crisis will be taken into account when considering test scores, grades and extracurricular activities.”
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Jackson Schroeder is a graduate of Ohio University with a B.A. in Journalism from the E.W. Scripps School. He is originally from Savannah, Georgia. Jackson has covered a wide range of topics, including sustainability, technology, sports, culture, travel, and music. He plays bass and guitar, and enjoys playing and listening to live music in his free time.