The College Board on Wednesday cancelled the June administration of the SAT until August because of Covid-19 pandemic, adding more pressure to the companies that administer the admissions tests at a time when dozens of colleges are making it optional.. The SATs scheduled for June have been cancelled, the College Board said in a statement Wednesday. The organization said it will provide a digital SAT for home use if schools don’t reopen in the fall.
If the pandemic forces high schools to remain closed this fall, students will be able to take a digital version of the SAT at home, the organization announced on Wednesday. Still the announcement, though surely inevitable, is a big deal. The pandemic and ensuing shutdowns kept many students from taking the March SAT, and the College Board cancelled the May administration. Now that the June exam won’t happen, a total of about one million first-time SAT-takers in the high-school Class of 2021 weren’t able to sit for the exam this spring, according to the College Board.
To launch an at-home version of the multiple-choice SAT would set a major precedent, raising huge questions about test security and access to computers and the Internet for students from low-income families. The test takes three hours, not counting breaks or the optional 50-minute essay. It covers math and evidence-based reading and writing, yielding scores of up to 1600. Testing centres use rigorous protocols to deter cheating. Students are not allowed to access cellphones, for instance, and they must bring photo identification to enter a national testing site.
During a news conference on Wednesday, David Coleman, the College Board’s chief executive, acknowledged the hardships many students are experiencing because of the pandemic. “There are things more important than tests,” he said. “Our top priority is the health and well-being of students.”