Standardized tests rescheduled for fall; schools modify admission requirements

Kaitlyn Gibson, staff writer

The College Board and ACT announced on April 20 that the spring administrations of their respective exams will be rescheduled for the following school year. The SAT was originally going to be given in May and June, but those testing dates were canceled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. “There will be weekend SAT administrations every month through the end of the calendar year,” said David Coleman, CEO of the College Board, during a press briefing. As of April 20, the new dates are set for August 29, October 3, November 7, and December 5.

Many students worry that their test scores may be affected by the pandemic, as SAT prep classes were forced to end weeks early and the option of a May practice test was taken away. Jenna Kimak, a junior at Joliet West High School, expressed that some of her fears regarding the SAT include “not being fully prepared because it would be so long since [her] teacher had prepared [her] or not having enough time to retake the test if a college [she’s] looking at has a certain application deadline.”

Another Joliet West junior, Paola Lozada, addressed a different concern, saying, “The new test dates are in the fall of our senior year, and many people don’t understand how stressful college applications are and how much time that they take.” Lozada later added that she’s in West’s marching band, meaning that her fall schedule is really packed and doesn’t leave much room for another exam.

The students’ concerns materialized from the thought of having to take the SAT once school was back in session, but they, among others, failed to consider the possibility of the social distancing guidelines being extended past the summer. Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker announced during his daily press briefing on April 23 that the state’s stay-at-home order will be extended through May 30. With people not following the guidelines put in place, this order will most likely continue to be extended; this could mean that schools would remain closed at the start of the school year.

Coleman explained that in the “unlikely event” in which students do not return to school in the fall, the SAT will be offered digitally for at-home testing. A proctoring program would be required for the test to be taken in order to prevent cheating. It “locks down” the computer, and the camera and microphone would be turned on during the exam so that any movement in the room would be detected.

Although these organizations have been working to ensure that the tests are given whether or not students are in class, many colleges have decided to remove them from their admissions requirements. According to FairTest, over 1,130 accredited colleges and universities have updated their policies for the fall of 2021 admissions, making SAT and ACT scores optional. This means that students are not required to submit their SAT/ACT scores when they apply to these schools; however, doing so may still be beneficial. Standardized test scores can improve one’s chances of getting accepted and be used for scholarship opportunities.

 Although the world’s future remains uncertain, it is clear that this pandemic will not stop students from furthering their education. For more information regarding the SAT, visit the College Board’s official website.