What’s going to happen to the SAT?


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Due to the pandemic and the controversies surrounding it, the SAT may soon come to an end.

You sit down at a random desk as one of the most important exams of your life is about to take place. There’s an air of nervousness about the room, and you sneak in a few last whispered words of encouragement to your friends. You’re about to take the SAT, and the next few hours could very well determine your future.

This scenario was standard for most students before the coronavirus pandemic. The SAT was built up to be an earth-shattering event that would be the deciding factor on whether or not you would be able to get accepted into your dream college. Now, however, the entire test is being redesigned. There’s even a possibility that a great number of students graduating from high school in 2022 will not be able to take it as a result of Covid-19. The changes that have been made, however, were in discussion even before the pandemic.

The new version of the SAT excludes the essay portion and the subject tests have been discontinued for US students. International students, however, will have the opportunity to take them until the end of June 2021. 

Many colleges are also making the SAT an optional part of their applications. All of the schools in the UC system, for instance, will no longer require the SAT or ACT.

In a press release, UC President Janet Napolitano confirmed that this move is permanent and said, “We are removing the ACT/SAT requirement for California students and developing a new test that more closely aligns with what we expect incoming students to know to demonstrate their preparedness for UC.”

Under Napolitano’s plan, the SAT will be optional for the Class of 2021 and 2022. For the classes of 2023 and 2024, it will once again be optional in addition to not even being a factor in the admissions decision process. The only reason for students to submit test scores during this time would be for extraneous reasons such as scholarship money or to make use of the UC statewide guarantee. By 2025, it will be phased out entirely. The UC system is currently working on creating a new admissions test. However, if it is found to be insufficient, there is a possibility that standardized testing as a whole will be completely eradicated from all UC campuses.

Even highly prestigious universities such as Harvard are making the SAT voluntary, although only temporarily.

Many have expressed hope that this is the beginning of the end for the SAT. 

AVID teacher Kathleen Peterson said, “I am not a supporter of the SAT. I do not see the test making a comeback after quarantine.  Collegeboard has already announced that they are doing away with the SAT Essay and the Subjects Tests. I think they are trying to keep their test relevant, but in the meantime I think that colleges are finding other ways to assess students and saying that they will no longer use the SAT or ACT for college applications.”

The dislike for the SAT is widespread among both students and teachers alike. 

Junior Albert Huynh said, “Collegeboard is a terrible organization and a completely for-profit company. Students that have parents with some money can get books and tutors that will prepare them while the working-class students have to work jobs and don’t have enough time nor resources to study.”

The claim that the SAT is unfair for disadvantaged students is well supported by research. The lowest SAT scores tend to come from students who are considered low-income, while wealthier students tend to do the best.

Another critique of the SAT is the fact that standardized tests are in and of themselves flawed. Many argue that placing so much emphasis on a singular exam is unwise, because several years of education cannot be condensed into a few mere hours. 

Freshman Ashley Andrade said, “I really don’t think assessments can show the full potential of a student.” 

All of the negative opinions surrounding the SAT, coupled with the stresses that have been placed upon it by the pandemic, may lead to its eventual downfall, which isn’t necessarily unpleasant. However, if it is able to survive, we can only hope that it will have changed drastically, for its current version is, as evidenced, not very well liked nor supported.