SAT Update from College Board

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SAT Update from College Board

Dear Colleague,

We’re contacting you today with news about the SAT® for you and your students, but we know there are more important things than tests right now. We must first acknowledge that this is a heavy and heartbreaking moment in our nation’s history. Protests continue this week in response to the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor and the racial injustice those and other tragedies represent. This comes at a time when people of color have died at disproportionately high rates from covid-19. At the College Board, we’re engaging in deep discussion about how we respond to these issues that are so ingrained in the missions of all your school communities.

Because SAT registration is opening to all students tomorrow, it’s critical to provide information today about availability for fall SAT administrations, and we’re asking our member institutions to offer flexibility in admissions this year to reduce anxiety for students. Please see details below.

Update on an At-Home SAT Option

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. We’ll continue to develop remote proctoring capabilities to make an at-home SAT possible in the future. We will also continue to deliver the SAT online in some schools but won’t introduce the stress that could result from extended at-home testing in an already disrupted admissions season.

In-Person SAT Registration

For students, the uncertainty stemming from the virus has also created a heightened anxiety around their fall applications. On May 28, we opened SAT registration for students who were most in need of a testing opportunity—students in the high school classes of 2020 or 2021 who don’t yet have an SAT score. There was a flood of demand for testing opportunities that caused interruptions and delays in our registration system. We regret any stress that caused you or the students you serve. Since Friday, registration has flowed smoothly.

Registration opens to all students this week. This year, many centers will have fewer seats because of social distancing guidelines and may encounter unexpected closures.

The College Board continues to do all it can to expand availability of the SAT at in-person test centers. We’re providing additional SAT administrations every month, beginning in August. Today, we also announced there will be an exam date in January 2021 if there’s demand for it. While we can’t directly control capacity and test center availability, we’re working with local high schools, colleges, and other sites to increase seating capacity in areas where August and September registration is filling up.

Additionally, state and large district SAT School Day partners plan to offer the SAT to students, for free, in the fall to replace canceled administrations in the spring.

Current SAT Capacity

In many states and districts, there are still ample seats available for students who haven’t yet registered. However, there’s higher demand for the August administration, and importantly, in certain areas, August and September already are full or nearing capacity.
Overall, in August, less than 25% of capacity is filled; in September, less than 10% of capacity is filled; in October, about 5% of capacity is filled.
Certain states have lower capacity, for August in particular, including Massachusetts (at 75% capacity), Rhode Island (at 60% capacity), Washington state (at 59% capacity), and New Jersey (at 58% capacity).
It’s the unfortunate reality that students in the densely populated areas hardest hit by covid-19 will face the greatest challenge in finding open seats because of scarce test centers. Therefore, the College Board is asking member colleges to provide flexibility to students in three ways:
Accept scores as late as possible in their process, especially extending the score deadlines for early action and early decision to take some pressure off and give students more time to test and send their scores.
Equally consider students for admission who are unable to take the exam due to covid-19 as those who submitted scores. (The College Board will keep colleges up to date on testing availability.)
Recognize that students who do submit scores may not have been able to take the test more than once (e.g., taking into account that students who tested as high school juniors but who couldn’t test as seniors would’ve likely achieved score gains).
We know that this year colleges understand the importance of paying especially close attention to the context in which all students live and learn as they make admissions decisions. Thank you more than ever for your partnership in these challenging times.


College Board

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