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College Board wants to expand ways to take SAT amid virus

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The College Board plans to expand opportunities for high school students to take the SAT including offering the college entrance exam once a month beginning in August if public health allows, officials with the nonprofit said Wednesday.

The organization said it is also considering administering the test at home if schools remain closed in the fall.

The College Board has canceled the exams scheduled for May 2 and June 6. The March 14 exam had already been canceled at several locations in New York due to the coronavirus pandemic. Overall, the spring exams were canceled for about 1 million students nationwide.

In a conference call Wednesday, College Board CEO David Coleman said that the nonprofit wants to expand access for students to the SAT.

Coleman said the first priority of College Board is "to keep families and students safe," adding that the second priority is to "make the SAT as widely available as possible for students who wish to test, regardless of the economic or public health circumstances." 

College Board is considering at least three efforts:

  • Weekend SAT administrations every month through the end of the calendar year, beginning in August. This includes a new administration in September and the previously scheduled tests on Aug. 29, Oct. 3, Nov. 7, and Dec. 5.
  • Offering the SAT during the school day this fall. Almost all of College Board state partners and many of its district partners have expressed interest in this, officials said.
  • If schools do not reopen this fall, the College Board will provide a digital SAT for home use. The organization would follow the model it will use when it delivers digital exams for 3 million Advanced Placement (AP) students this spring.

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Officials said that they are working to ensure that at-home SAT testing would be simple and fair, accessible to all and valid for college admissions. 

For national administrations, students will be able to register beginning in May. Students who registered for June and those in the high school class of 2021 who do not have SAT scores will have early access to register for the August, September and October administrations, officials said.

According to the Princeton Review, most students take the exam for the first time in the spring of their junior year and possibly retake it in the fall of their senior year. On Long Island, exams are usually administered on a Saturday.

The College Board is looking at offering fee waivers to eligible students who take the weekend exam, and the nonprofit is working with school districts who have expressed interest in holding school day administrations — free to students — later in the fall. It is not clear if that includes New York State. Officials with the state Department of Education said that issues associated with the SAT are under review. 

The other college entrance exam, ACT, has postponed its April 4 exam to June 13 across the United States.

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