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Coronavirus is prompting colleges to drop SAT and ACT requirements

Published Apr 15th, 2020 4:15PM EDT
College Admissions
Image: Alex Brandon/AP/Shutterstock

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  • SAT and ACT exams this spring have been canceled per social distancing guidelines.
  • Some colleges are temporarily dropping SAT and ACT requirements due to the coronavirus.
  • If the coronavirus pandemic doesn’t subside, at-home testing may become an option.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

The coronavirus may completely change the way colleges and universities use standardized tests like the SAT as part of the admissions process. With large gatherings no longer allowed on account of social distancing guidelines, it’s no surprise that springtime dates for both the SAT and ACT were cancelled weeks ago. As a result, there have been discussions about offering the exams in August.

What’s more, the College Board earlier today announced that if schools are forced to remain closed at the start of the school year this fall, there may be an option for students to take the SAT at home.

“Our first principle with the SAT and all our work must be to keep families and students safe,” David Coleman of the College Board said about the matter. “The second principle is to make the SAT as widely available as possible for students who wish to test, regardless of the economic or public health circumstances.”

As to how the test might be administered in a way to preclude cheating, well, that remains unclear.

The Wall Street Journal adds:

About one million students from the high-school class of 2021 who had signed up to take the SAT this spring were unable to do so, the College Board said, with about three-quarters of those scheduled to take the exam on school days.

Mr. Coleman said that if schools don’t reopen in the fall—which he called “increasingly unlikely”—the College Board will ensure that an at-home option is available. He said that version of the SAT, which would use remote proctoring, would be “simple, secure and fair, accessible to all and valid for use in college admissions.”

In light of all this, some colleges and universities are opting to temporarily drop the SAT and ACT as requirements for admission. Some of the larger schools taking this approach include University of California Berkeley, Indiana University, Auburn University, University of Virginia, and UNLV.

This is undeniably a huge shift for the U.S. educational system given that the SAT has been used as part of the college admissions process for nearly 100 years. At this point, it’s impossible to predict how things will play out given that we’ve supposedly been nearing a coronavirus “peak” for a few days now. And while some cities have seen a decline in the number of coronavirus cases, other cities are still seeing an influx of patients.

“We are nearing the peak right now,” CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield said earlier this week. “I think we’ll sometime, hopefully this week, we will be able to say when.”

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.

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