May 12, 2020

At-Home SAT to be Offered by College Board

At-Home SAT to be Offered by College Board

According to an article from the U.S. News and World Report, students will be able to take their SAT test at home if school does not resume this coming fall.  This decision comes at a pivotal time for the administrators of these standardized tests, as they are currently attempting to remain “essential” as various educational institutions are turning away from the testing requirement previously needed for admission.

College Board officials announced in early April that they would be outlining a revamped timetable as well as a digital option for the college entrance exam.

College Board CEO David Coleman said in a recent press briefing, “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.  In the unfortunate and unlikely possibility that schools do not open this fall, the College Board will be ready to provide a digital SAT at home.”

Coleman went on to describe the scenario as “increasingly unlikely” and one that would mandate at-home proctoring the likes of which has never before been seen.  “We would much rather see schools reopen,” he said. “But we will be ready.”

Officials with College Board have relayed that they have been experimenting with various types of software for security which could, for example, restrict access to the entire computer with the exception of than the software that administers the test, as well as to be able to access the device’s microphone and camera to be able to monitor students for any interference that might affect the integrity of test results.  The organization drew parallels between a digital SAT administration to how they are currently allowing 3 million students to take versions of AP examinations while under stay-at-home orders.

Coleman was noted as saying, “If we are forced to deliver a digital SAT at home, we will double our efforts to confront the digital divide.”  He added that they are prepared to work with states and local school districts to be able to deliver technology or Wi-Fi hot spots to guarantee that any potential student that would like to sit for the SAT is able to do so from the comfort of their home.

If public health officials give the all clear, the College Board intends to offer weekend SAT administrations every month through the 2020 calendar year, beginning in August. Students will be able to register in May for the August through October testings, and priority will be given to students expected to graduate in 2021 who have not yet sat for the SAT.

Ronald Ehrenberg, a professor at Cornell University and the director of the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute stated, “The uncertainty caused by the pandemic and the announcement that the College Board has temporarily suspended the administration of the SAT as it seeks ‘an at-home style solution’ will most certainly continue the trend towards placing less weight on standardized tests.”

College Board officials said that, with the unprecedented nature of the ongoing pandemic, they are sympathetic to the various college and university admissions departments decisions to offer flexibility to students when it comes to submitting an SAT score or not; however, they have been critical of this in the past.

Coleman of the College Board further states, “We support colleges and our members totally in whatever flexibilities they adopt in these very challenging times.  This virus hits students very differently depending on their circumstances.  There has never been an event that I can recall that’s laid bare the division and inequalities in our society.”

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