The College Board has put on hold a plan to provide the SAT exam at home, saying students taking such a test would need access to three hours of uninterrupted, video-quality internet, which is something not all of them have.
It will 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,” the group said in a statement.
It also urged universities to show flexibility in admissions to reduce the stress for students whose academics have already been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The group is asking for flexibility from colleges in three ways:
- Accepting students’ scores as late as possible in their process, especially by extending 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 considering students for admission who are unable to take the exam due to COVID-19 as those who submitted scores.
- Recognizing that students who do submit scores may not have been able to take the test more than once, as many do to improve their scores.
“We know demand is very high and the registration process for students and families under this kind of pressure is extremely stressful,” said College Board CEO David Coleman. “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.”
SAT registration opened on May 28 for students who were most in need of a testing opportunity, that is students in the high school classes of 2020 or 2021 who don’t yet have an SAT score. Registration opens to all students this week.
The group said that, in many states and districts, ample seats are available for students who have not yet registered. However, there is higher demand for the August administration and, in certain areas, August and September already are full or nearing capacity.
“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 College Board said.