Education Beat Podcast — Teens fight for the right to vote for school board — Listen Now!

News Update

SAT and ACT could be offered on-line and at home if crisis persists

The SAT and its rival ACT, the nation’s most important college admissions exams, could be offered on-line, at home later this year in an unprecedented move that will require massive amounts of digital proctoring to prevent cheating, officials announced Wednesday. Those emergency backup plans are being developed if schools remain closed in the fall and prevent the usual in-school testing.

Meanwhile, the College Board, the organization that sponsors the SAT, has suspended all its usual spring testing days because of the health emergency but will try to come back with more frequent in-school testing than usual in the late summer and fall. They will add a September date to the already scheduled August 29 , October 3, November 7 and December 5. It also will be working to offer fall testing for individual school districts across the country that canceled spring testings that they normally use as an accountability measurement or graduation requirement, College Board leaders said.

If the Coronavirus crisis persists, the College Board said it is preparing for an online, at-home offering of the SAT that would implement technology that could monitor movement and sound of possible cheating activities and also lock down access to other sites on the Internet. The College Board already has shifted its Advanced Placement exams, which can earn students college credit, to an on-line format, with administrations of those tests at homes next month.

The ACT also said it will offer an online, at-home version and said more details about its availability and usage will be announced in a few weeks. The ACT is less popular in California than the SAT although either usually fulfills colleges’ application mandates.

Because of the health emergency, the University of California dropped the SAT and the ACT as application requirements for current high school juniors who will seek fall 2021 admissions. The university is debating whether to keep standardized testing as a requirement beyond that one-year suspension. Meanwhile, the California State University is considering what to do with its testing requirements.

College Board officials said Wednesday that they do not know what the impact of UC’s decisions will be on the number of California students who may take the SAT in the fall. Many private colleges still require it.