The College Board, which administers SAT and Advanced Placement (AP) exams said on Tuesday (June 2) it would scrap plans to develop and administer at at-home version of the SAT. The announcement comes nearly two months after the organization first announced an at-home version of the college admissions exam would be developed. This announcement came about a month after the College Board began canceling in-person SAT exams amid the coronavirus pandemic. The College Board does plan on continuing to develop the at-home version of the exam in the future, it said in the announcement.
“The College Board will pause on offering an at-home SAT this year because taking it would require three hours of uninterrupted, video-quality internet for each student, which can’t be guaranteed for all,” the College Board said in its announcement. “The College Board will continue to develop remote proctoring capabilities to make at-home SAT possible in the future. It will also continue to deliver the SAT online in some schools but will not introduce the stress that could result from extended at-home testing in an already disrupted admissions season.”
COLLEGE BOARD ASKS SCHOOLS TO ‘EXTEND DEADLINES FOR RECEIVING TEST SCORES’
In addition to saying it will pause the development of the at-home test, the College Board asked colleges to “extend deadlines for receiving test scores and to equally consider students for admission who are unable to take the test due to covid-19.” Millions of high school students were unable to take the exam this spring, the College Board reported. Demand is already high for fall test dates. The College Board says it is trying to create more testing centers and space within the centers already testing students. But, the College Board also acknowledged, fewer seats are available because of social distancing policies and “unexpected closures” could occur this fall if the spread of the coronavirus escalates again as it did this spring.
“We know demand is very high and the registration process for students and families under this kind of pressure is extremely stressful,” College Board CEO David Coleman said in the announcement. “There are more important things than tests right now. In making these difficult decisions we focused on reducing the anxiety that students and families are experiencing this year. We therefore are asking our member colleges to be flexible toward students who can’t submit scores, who submit them later, or who did not have a chance to test more than once.”
MASSACHUSETTS IS ALREADY AT 75% TESTING CAPACITY FOR AUGUST
Registration for this fall’s exams opened on May 28 for students “most in need of a testing opportunity,” which the College Board said means students graduating high school in 2020 or 2021 that do not already have an SAT score. While testing space generally remains fairly open overall across the country, it’s not dispersed equally. Overall, the College Board says, testing space is already at 25% capacity for August. But less than 10% of seats are filled in September and less than 5% in October.
“It is the unfortunate reality that students in the densely populated areas hardest hit by covid-19 — such as Boston, Denver, and New York City — will face the greatest challenge in finding open seats because of scarce test centers,” the announcement said.
For example, the College Board says testing centers in Massachusetts are already at 75% capacity, Rhode Island is at 60% capacity, Washington State is at 59% capacity, and New Jersey is at 58% capacity.
COLLEGE BOARD RECOMMENDING COLLEGES CHANGING ADMISSIONS PROCESSES AND EVALUATION
The College Board asked for colleges to show flexibility in their admissions process this cycle in at least three ways. First, the College Board is asking colleges to accept late SAT scores and to pushback deadlines for early admission and early decision applications. Next, the College Board asks schools to equally consider students unable to take the SAT because of COVID-19 as those that have been able to take the test. Lastly, the College Board reminds schools that many submitting test scores this cycle might have only been able to take the test once.