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Students on LI, across U.S. left without places to take the SAT

Officials at College Board, which sponsors the SAT,

Officials at College Board, which sponsors the SAT, said 183,000 students registered for September exams nationwide were without test sites as of this week. Credit: Newsday/thomas a. ferrara

Thousands of students who signed up to take the SAT college-admissions exam this week must now deal with test-site closings prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, testing authorities announced Tuesday.

Among sites listed by College Board as closed were the private Ross School in East Hampton and public high schools in the districts of Amityville, Middle Country, Connetquot, Deer Park, Sewanhaka, Plainedge, Roslyn, Seaford, Southampton and South Huntington.

Officials at the Manhattan-based College Board, which sponsors the SAT, said 183,000 students registered for September exams nationwide were without test sites as of this week. Site closings also affected 154,000 students registered for October tests.

Student registrations will be canceled and refunded, the agency said. In addition, College Board has asked colleges to extend deadlines for receiving test scores, and to equally consider for admission students unable to take the test.

In the Connetquot district, administrators acknowledged complaints from families that the closing could force students to take the SAT in unfamiliar locations. Administrators said they were negotiating with College Board to reinstate Connetquot High School as a test site.

"I apologize for the additional angst that the cancellation of these test administrations has caused," stated the district's superintendent, Lynda G. Adams, in a letter sent to local parents Friday.

The three-hour SAT has been administered for more than 90 years and is the college-entrance exam most commonly used in New York and other northeastern states. Most tests are administered at regional test sites on weekends, but a growing number are sponsored by local school districts on days when classes are in session.

The first school-day test for the season is scheduled Wednesday. The first weekend exam will be given Saturday.

Of test centers initially scheduled to administer the SAT in September, 61% remain open, according to College Board. The nonprofit agency said it added a September school-day test to its fall calendar this year in order to provide more opportunities for students to test.

A College Board website lists 35 schools in Nassau and Suffolk counties as open for the next round of SAT testing. The agency, in its statement issued Tuesday, thanked schools for participating.

"We know this is a challenging time for students who want to take the SAT," said Priscilla Rodriguez, the College Board vice president for college-readiness assessments. "We will continue to work together with educators to provide testing opportunities to students throughout the rest of the fall and academic year."

For more information on upcoming testing, check collegeboard.org.

Nationwide, the closure of schools due to the pandemic during the 2019-20 academic year resulted in disruptions of college admissions tests throughout the spring and summer. Meanwhile, growing numbers of colleges and universities adopted "test optional" policies affecting both the SAT and the ACT, another national admissions exam.

Columbia University in Manhattan has decided, for example, to make standardized entrance tests optional this year for first-time applicants to its undergraduate liberal arts and engineering colleges.

One leading national critic of standardized tests, Bob Schaeffer, complimented College Board for the transparency represented in Tuesday's release of exam data. Schaeffer added that figures indicated 55% of registrations for Sept. 26 had been canceled and that, based on recent experience, "some would-be test takers will likely find their centers shuttered when they arrive to sit for the exams."

Schaeffer is interim executive director of Fair Test, a Massachusetts-based research and advocacy group.

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