College Board, the organising body which administers the SAT college entrance examinations, announced Tuesday that they will be discontinuing both the optional SAT Essay and the SAT Subject Tests from their standardised testing platforms.
The changes will become effective immediately in the US (with all students currently registered for SAT Subject Tests being offered a registration fee refund), while international students will be able to sit Subject Tests up until the June 2021 sitting.
The move was in reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic, with College Board commenting the pandemic accelerated a ‘process already underway’ to simplify their work and reduce demands on students. Further it has been suggested AP or Advanced Placement exams will be considered as a valid replacement to SAT Subject Tests as indicators of a student’s subject focus abilities.
“We’re reducing demands on students,” said College Board in the newly released statement. “The expanded reach of AP and its widespread availability means the Subject Tests are no longer necessary for students to show what they know.
“We’ve continued to enrich and expand access to AP courses, which let students showcase their skills through challenging coursework.”
In acknowledging the College Board announcement, Crimson Education CEO, Jamie Beaton, noted that students will have to find new ways to showcase their specific subject talents. Beaton says options such as AP courses, A-Level qualifications and other subject specific competition reporting will all offer opportunities for students to communicate their skills to admissions officers.
“SAT Subject Tests have enabled students to showcase specific subject skills in areas like math, sciences and history. As such, the recent College Board changes will require students to find alternative ways to showcase their competencies in specific subjects. This is particularly relevant for international students from high schools offering curriculums less familiar to admissions officers.
“An appropriate choice for many students will be AP courses or the uptake of additional subjects in respected international curriculums such as A-Levels. Students can also focus on recognised subject based competitions that set the student aside as accomplished in that particular area of study. In many ways, opening up these alternatives could be a positive for international students providing them with more options to display their skills across a number of different platforms”.
UAE-based Regional Manager, Soraya Beheshti, notes that the move to AP (Advanced Placement) subjects is not a bad thing. APs are college-level courses and are offered in a variety of subjects. Students can use AP credits to graduate from university early, thereby saving parents thousands of dollars. Crimson Global Academy, an internationally-accreditedpremier online high school, currently offers APs, GCSEs and A Levels to talented students in the region. In its most recent round of A Level examinations, students scored an average of 92%, with 75% of CGA students achieving an A and 33% of students achieving perfect scores, or 100%.
The move to drop SAT Subjects Tests and the optional SAT Essay comes after a year of uncertainty in the testing process which saw many US colleges go ‘SAT optional’. The pandemic also highlighted the demand for online testing options – a subject College Board said it would provide more information on in April.
“There’s no doubt that online testing, and quality online schooling in general is becoming more and more important in our current education landscape, and that its value and relevance will continue post the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Mr Beaton.
“The College Board announcement simply exemplifies how important it is for students to find new ways to communicate their hard work and accomplishment, something Crimson has been dedicated to for some time.”