SAT, ACT Pre-Summer Exams Cancelled

In line with almost all international Exam Boards, including those in the UK, the IB and CBSE, the US College Board, which is responsible for the administration of the SAT examinations in the US and globally, has announced the cancellation of the exams due to be taken in June as a result of Covid-19.
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If the pandemic forces schools around the world to remain closed until this autumn – something that has already been confirmed in the UAE – the College Board has announced that students will be able to take an on-line version of the SAT at home.

Within hours of the announcement, ACT also announced that it would offer a test-at-home version of the ACT exam starting in late autumn or winter.

Many had anticipated that the June SAT would not take place, following the cancellation of both the March and May SAT examinations.  With the cancellation of the June exam, a total of about one million first-time SAT-takers in Grade 11 won’t be able to sit for the exam before the summer, according to the College Board.

Given the importance of the SAT score in the US College admissions process, this is bound to cause anxiety among students who were relying on these exams, and their results, to ensure their College/University place.

At a news conference on Wednesday, 14th April, David Coleman, the College Board’s chief executive commented “There are things more important than tests; our top priority is the health and well-being of students.”

The College Board has announced plans to add a new weekend SAT date, in September, as long as it’s safe to do so.  From August, there will be a monthly administration of the exam through to December.

Students who registered for the June SAT, and those currently in Grade 11, will get “top priority” in registering for the August, September, and October sessions. Finally, in what Coleman said was the “unfortunate and unlikely possibility” that schools do not reopen this autumn, the College Board will offer an online version of the SAT for students to take at home. He acknowledged. that this would require “remote proctoring” on an unprecedented scale, 

College Board officials said the organisation would draw on its recent experience in delivering the SAT digitally to schools in several US districts and states. “While the idea of testing at home is new,” Coleman said, “a SAT digital administration is not.” If circumstances require a made-for-home SAT, the College Board has said that it would be “simple, secure, and fair … and valid for use in college admissions.”

ACT Inc. announced that it will offer a second testing date in both June and July. Marten Roorda, ACT’s chief executive, in a written statement, said “Our mission compels us to provide as many opportunities as possible for students to take the ACT test, particularly now as other admission information, such as grades, courses, and GPAs, may be missing or partial.”

It is not clear how universities will respond if students have been unable to sit the College entrance exams. The University of California recently suspended its testing requirement for current Grade 12 students. But so far most of the US’s wealthiest, hyper-competitive institutions, including all eight Ivy League colleges, have held fast to their testing requirements. This is one particular motivation for the College Board to find a way to offer the SAT this autumn.

In the meantime, it seems that more Colleges will consider dropping SAT and ACT requirements for next year’s applicants. An increasing number – particularly those offering four year courses – have already ceased making both the ACT and/or SAT a requirement.

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