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SAT Removes Elective Essay and Topic Exams: One other Barrier Eliminated

What’s extra disturbing than making use of for school on a standard day? Doing it throughout a pandemic, when testing facilities shut unexpectedly, college students are quarantined with minutes discover, and households wrestle financially. Fortunately all seniors, this yr and final, are going through the identical issues. Each Faculty Board and a few universities have taken discover and adjusted admission necessities to adapt to the occasions. Most just lately, Faculty Board introduced plans to drop the SAT non-compulsory essay and topic assessments. This helps take away one other impediment for college kids making an attempt to use to among the most prestigious colleges within the nation.

The essay and topic assessments have been extra methods college students might display their skills in matters similar to languages, chemistry, and historical past. Faculties generally used them to find out freshman yr class placements. However for some, the assessments have been an costly and redundant choice. College students had already paid for AP testing on the identical topics and different standardized assessments.

Why did Faculty Board drop these non-compulsory assessments?

In Faculty Board’s press launch on January 19 , they clarify their reasoning. “The pandemic accelerated a course of already underway on the Faculty Board to scale back and simplify calls for on college students.”

To that finish, they introduced the three adjustments:

  • Discontinuing the topic assessments. “The expanded attain of AP and its widespread availability for low-income college students and college students of colour means the Topic Exams are not obligatory for college kids to indicate what they know.”
  • Discontinuing the non-compulsory essay. “This determination acknowledges that there are different methods for college kids to display their mastery of essay writing.”
  • Making a streamlined, digital take a look at to extend entry “to prioritize well being and security.”

The change helps alleviate scholar stress.

My highschool seniors already really feel harassed over faculty essays, deadlines, the prospect of digital studying each for the remainder of highschool and for school, and testing entry throughout the pandemic. This non-compulsory testing “alternative” is now one much less factor to fret about.

Their psychological well being relies on a much less inflexible and aggressive course of, with fewer whole steps required to start within the fall at their dream colleges. The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention quantifies the psychological well being disaster for college kids age 12 to 17 years outdated: from March to October 2020, the variety of hospital emergency room visits for psychological well being considerations rose 31 %. We’ve but to find out the true extent of pandemic dwelling and studying on our youngest populations.

College students can nonetheless present writing and subject-level expertise.

They don’t want another essay or take a look at. As an alternative, college students can present their essay writing by the precise faculty essay, their AP English rating, and different testing means. The common SAT itself nonetheless measures writing and modifying expertise, too.

College students additionally want equal entry to testing.

In 2020, the Faculty Board mentioned, “College students filed 2.2 million registrations to take the SAT on a weekend. However solely about 900,000 assessments have been taken throughout these periods. Quite a few examination facilities closed for public well being causes, generally with little discover. A whole bunch of 1000’s extra SATs have been administered final yr by publicly funded packages throughout college days.” As colleges across the nation stay in a digital or hybrid setting, testing in particular person throughout the college day might be one other casualty of the pandemic. This leads to decreased entry to the take a look at.

Some universities are responding to inequities as properly, trending in the direction of dropping conventional standardized assessments quickly and even completely. The College of California responded to pandemic wants in Could by suspending testing necessities for 2 years and omitting take a look at scores from in-state functions for 2023 and 2024. Different universities are quickly following with related “test-optional” and “test-blind” stances, as an alternative specializing in different features similar to transcripts, AP take a look at scores, and management.

However, is there another excuse for canceling the assessments?  

As we look ahead to the quick and long-term results of this determination, our consideration now turns to the potential motivation … to extend involvement in AP lessons and assessments. If educators at the moment are inspired to push AP lessons on college students who perhaps shouldn’t be in them for the sake of school competitors, as some academics and educators concern, then the SAT determination could have been for nothing. 

As academics watching precise, reside, human 18-year-olds grapple with life-changing choices, and the applying course of that goes together with these, we implore schools and testing organizations to think about the best, most accessible, and most streamlined model of your processes. For his or her futures, and their psychological well being.

What do you concentrate on the plan to drop the non-compulsory SAT essay and topic assessments? Share within the feedback beneath.

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