The college board, which administers the entrance exam for the SAT college and whose business has been ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic, announced Tuesday that it will be removing the optional essay section from the SAT and stop running subject tests in the United States.
“The pandemic accelerated a process already underway on the college board to simplify our work and reduce the demands on students,” the organization said in a statement, adding that it will continue to develop a version of the SAT test, that can be managed digitally. something that quickly tried a home version last year and failed after the pandemic closed test centers.
The board did not set a timeframe for the launch of a digital version of the SAT that could be managed in test centers by live proctors, but said it would provide more information in April.
The changes to the SAT are due to the fact that more universities are dropping the requirement for students to take the test, as well as its competitors, the ACT. This trend is partly due to equity concerns that have received a boost during the pandemic.
College Board critics said the decision was almost certainly due to financial considerations. The SAT has historically represented a significant portion of the College Board’s annual revenue of more than $ 1 billion.
“The SAT and specialist exams die of products when they take their last breaths, and I am sure that the costs of managing them are considerable,” says Jon Boeckenstedt, The vice provost for enrollment management at Oregon State University said in an email.
At the same time, he said, the college board would likely try to use the elimination of subject exams to persuade elite high schools to offer more advanced courses, the tests of which the college board also manages to polish their student credentials. However, since AP tests must be taken at the end of a student’s junior year or earlier in order for their results to be taken into account in admission decisions, more focus on AP results in the admissions process would likely only increase the pressure on students.
“Overall, it’s good for the college board and probably not that good for the students,” said Boeckenstedt. “In other words, par for the course.”
Indeed, in its announcement, the board said that AP courses provide “abundant and varied opportunities for students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills,” and that AP’s “expanded reach and widespread availability for low-income students and students of color “no longer require the subject exams.
David Coleman, the chief executive officer of the college board, said the organization’s goal is not to get more students into AP courses and tests, but to eliminate redundant exams, reducing the burden on students applying for college , will be reduced.
“Anything that can reduce and avoid unnecessary fears is of great value to us,” he said.