College Board cancels SAT Essay and subject tests

The College Board released a statement on Jan. 19 saying “we’re making some changes to reduce demands on students,” officially cancelling the SAT optional essay and SAT Subject Tests.

Sage Patel, junior, had been preparing for the SAT through prep classes, but when her test was cancelled in December, she “turned to independent studying” until she could take her test.

The College Board had tried to make an accessible SAT exam by first experimenting with an online AP exam. It was expected that only about one percent of the students testing would have technical difficulties when submitting the test. They have successfully created a shortened online AP test, but not without technicalities. If a student were to encounter an issue when submitting, they would be able to immediately email their answers and if that fails, they would have to wait months before retaking the test.

Brittany Hong, NPHS College and Career Center Advisor, addressed the issue of testing availability. “The coronavirus has continued to affect the testing capacity and testing locations due to the public health restrictions in our region,” Hong said.

Charlotte Weymer, senior, took the SAT and SAT Mathematics Level 2 last year. She believes that “there were many problems stemmed from immediately getting rid of the SATs with hardly any warning.” However, she does agree with the overall cancellations. “It is not indicative of future student success nor academic achievement,” Weymer said.

The role of standardized tests in college admissions has been a debate since the pandemic started interfering with the school year. Many colleges, such as Stanford, Duke and the UC system, have waived their requirements for state testing scores for the 2020-2021 applicants. As the pandemic continued, many colleges have started excusing the class of 2022 from the standardized testing requirements.

These changes are permanent and due to the status of the pandemic, the College Board will continue to make permanent changes to make future testing cycles accessible and equitable.