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How Could SAT's Possibly Still Happen? Why does CB refuse to acknowledge reality?

tekodutekodu 11 replies9 threads Junior Member
I'm not sure if I'm a pessimist or if College Board and universities that haven't gone TO just refuse to acknowledge reality. To my understanding, if the August 29th SAT date gets canceled, College Board will have no option left but to administer an online test. However, neither of these possibilities are realistic in the slightest. Even if they were allowed to administer physical tests in August, they would have to follow strict CDC guidelines, which would mean 6 feet apart for every student, and how could that be even slightly possible with the hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions, of kids who haven't gotten to take or would like to retake the SAT? The main issue I foresee is the fact that they have to administer the test to every student who would like to take it, as they could not just give the opportunity to some and exclude others. Even if they spread testing out throughout the month, do they actually think they could get enough volunteers or even space to administer these tests? And do they actually think parents would be slightly ok sending their kids to mini petri dishes for the virus in order to take a standardized test? What's even worse is how misleading CB has been, saying that it is unlikely that they won't be able to administer physical tests when every single shred of statistical information is contradictory to such a statement. So, if physical testing is obviously out of the question, online testing would be their backup plan. In the email they sent they referenced the AP exams in support of their claim that an online SAT wouldn't be a massive catastrophe, but the AP exams are not even remotely applicable. They turned a 3 hour multiple choice and free response test into a 45 minute online free response-only test, which they still managed to fail at administering on a national level. How could they think that that is applicable whatsoever to a 3 hour multiple choice-only exam that doesn't just provide college credit, but largely determines the outcome of college admissions. I can not see a single possibility where CB doesn't mess everything up, so do universities just refuse to acknowledge the obvious outcome to this situation and are just going to wait until the last minute to drop testing requirements? I've also heard the argument that a lot of applicants to high-level universities already took the SAT's, but how is it, in any way, reasonable to just straight up disqualify however many thousands of kids haven't taken the SAT yet? There is literally no possible solution to the problem other than all universities going TO, and, for the life of me, I can not figure out why universities and CB are still holding on to SAT requirements like it's even a remote possibility.
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Replies to: How Could SAT's Possibly Still Happen? Why does CB refuse to acknowledge reality?

  • cinnamon1212cinnamon1212 1094 replies9 threads Senior Member
    edited May 20
    Your post made me laugh, and I must say, I completely agree with you. The best way to catch COVID is to be indoors with a lot of people for hours, and masks are not completely protective. Can't see any way tests will be administered in person. And also agree that they will be unable to offer a seamless online test; and also that there will be students who will be unable to take the test online or will only with difficulty (e.g. taking it on a phone, or in a parking lot where there is service, etc). And those with difficulties will be low income. And I thought schools were doing everything they can to make things more equitable for low income applicants. In this scenario, schools that don't go test optional are clearly not thinking of those for whom it is difficult to impossible.

    However, as another poster said on another thread -- the College Board is a billion dollar business and it will be doing everything it can to keep its business going. This is the thin end of the wedge -- if lots of colleges stay test optional the CB could lose many millions.
    edited May 20
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  • sushirittosushiritto 5227 replies20 threads Senior Member
    edited May 20
    I can totally see a test being given in-person. Our local public high schools have very large campuses. The CB hires more proctors, more classrooms, supply hand sanitizer, maintain social distancing, keep the rooms ventilated, wear face masks, stagger breaks, etc.

    Assuming you eliminate as much risk as possible, since you cannot eliminate all risk, I'm fine sending my D21 to take the test.
    edited May 20
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  • mamaedefamiliamamaedefamilia 3702 replies24 threads Senior Member
    edited May 20
    If schools reopen in August-September, there is no reason why there can't be an in person ACT/SAT. Test takers have to socially distance anyway to reduce cheating. Implementing the suggestions that @sushiritto suggested - and it would be like a regular school day in the new socially-distanced, mask-wearing, disinfecting normal.

    There is likely to be a lot of pent up demand. Students who have had no chance to test should be given priority over repeat testers. I believe that this is the direction that CB is going; not sure about ACT. I also wonder if colleges and universities might accept the PSAT as an alternative as it is widely administered in the fall of junior year. I haven't heard anybody discuss that as an option yet.
    edited May 20
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  • cstp28cstp28 30 replies0 threads Junior Member
    D21 is scheduled to take the ACT on June 13th. Their website says they will notify students next week of any changes. They are planning to administer at as many sites as possible. Will be interesting to see what happens.

    I will be registering her for the August SAT tomorrow.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 4974 replies86 threads Senior Member
    edited May 21
    cstp28 wrote: »
    D21 is scheduled to take the ACT on June 13th. Their website says they will notify students next week of any changes. They are planning to administer at as many sites as possible. Will be interesting to see what happens.

    I will be registering her for the August SAT tomorrow.

    I think there are a good number of sites that have already notified ACT they won't be administering the June 13th test. It's unfortunate that ACT (or the sites) aren't communicating that real time.

    Regarding in person tests....both ACT and SAT should be able to figure out ways to administer the test in person, per the ideas above. But, some states will need to open things up more for that to be allowed. If schools are in person in the fall, not sure why ACT or SAT tests wouldn't be a go.

    Both ACT and SAT have administered computer based tests internationally, so not sure why that wouldn't work here....the main limitation is there are relatively few sites that have the technology to offer a computer based test.

    I am less optimistic about home-based online tests.
    edited May 21
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  • homerdoghomerdog 7226 replies114 threads Senior Member
    @cstp28 I don't think you can sign up for the Aug SAT yet. CB is letting kids know next week when that test date will be available for registration and kids who were registered for March and May and had their tests cancelled get priority.
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  • nomoodnomood 282 replies27 threads Member
    Welcome to the College Board, where money is the only thing that matters. And, @sushiritto , the College Board doesn't pay proctors. The school does.
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  • EmpireappleEmpireapple 2216 replies28 threads Senior Member
    I agree with you. I think it might depend on where you are in the country if you think SAT/ACT will be administered in August.

    I am in NY and I don't think the tests will be administered. I actually think the Pandemic is going to change the College Board forever (just like many other things will change too). I believe al,l except the very top tier, will go test optional in the future and this could be the end of the big business of CB.

    I also don't think K-12 schools will open. Maybe a hybrid model of a few days in person and the rest online but they won't be bringing back the typical large school setting. I wish they were and I envy other parts of the country who will resume school, sports, and activities.
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  • wisteria100wisteria100 4414 replies49 threads Senior Member
    They should limit test takers to seniors only. As for 6 feet apart, many test centers already distance test takers to minimize cheating and have limits on the number of students per room. There are usually less students per room than would be for a regular high school class.
    But agree, the decision will be made on a state by state basis.
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 43122 replies470 threads Senior Member
    edited May 22
    A very large number of colleges has gone test-optional.
    So, for most applicants (applying to a couple in-state universities), there'll be no need to take the test.
    However, it'll still matter for students who want/need merit and applicants to non test optional elite colleges, which will totally skew the group of test takers. For standardized testing to "work", the CB will need to account for that or all scores will be "wrong".

    The TOEFL and (likely) the ACT will be online/at home by Fall.

    For CB, having only 10-15 students per room means finding more space and hiring more room monitors + having a plan for cleaning/desinfecting afterwards; they won't be able to pass the extra expense on to their clients because their business model is in jeopardy so they don't want to alienate their customer base (after holding them captive for decades).
    Many students won't want to go to school to take the test and many won't need to take the test, so CB needs to be thinking furiously right now if they want to survive.
    edited May 22
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 4974 replies86 threads Senior Member
    MYOS1634 wrote: »
    A very large number of colleges has gone test-optional.
    So, for most applicants (applying to a couple in-state universities), there'll be no need to take the test.
    However, it'll still matter for students who want/need merit and applicants to non test optional elite colleges, which will totally skew the group of test takers.
    The TOEFL and (likely) the ACT will be online/at home by Fall.
    For CB, having only 10-15 students per room means finding more space and hiring more room monitors and a plan for cleaning/desinfecting afterwards; they won't be able to pass the extra expense on to their clients because their business model is in jeopardy so they don't want to alienate their customer base (after holding them captive for decades).

    Even though many schools are now TO, for now it’s still best to have a test score. Some, maybe many, schools limit the number of TO applicants they accept, as USNWR methodology dings schools where >25% of students don’t report test scores. Unfortunately many college presidents and trustees do still care about USNWR rankings.

    Not sure where things will be with in-school testing, but the sites pay for proctors, not CB. The number of available of sites might certainly decrease if it gets too costly to administer the tests with distancing.

    For computer based tests, there are also relatively fewer sites that have the tech to offer that option.

    Not sure what will happen with online home based tests....Claremont McKenna has already said they won’t accept those if they happen, will be interesting to see how this plays out.
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 43122 replies470 threads Senior Member
    The ACT is already online abroad in countries without cheating scandals (costs three times the regular, "domestic" test, too). However it's taken in a room with test monitors. Duolingo already has an online/at home system.
    The technical difficulty is monitoring home tests.
    Basically they block everything in your computer save for their screen, you must show the full room then close the door, and you MUST be in full view of your laptop's camera the whole time. Your test session is recorded so that if they hear a sound indicating a door opening, someone talking to you, etc, they will check what the webcam indicates.
    Cornell, Pomona, Vassar, Amherst, Williams and the entire UC system... are moving to test optional. Harvard is indicating it'll be flexible. If entire regions can't offer the test in August and September, then many universities will have to follow suit or lose applicants in an already difficult context.
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  • cinnamon1212cinnamon1212 1094 replies9 threads Senior Member
    The system as described -- laptop w/camera, private room, excellent wifi -- is not possible for all applicants, mostly low income applicants. That's just reality.

    If groups are literally unable to take the test, because of the above, or because whole states won't offer the test, then it is patently unfair for a school to insist on test scores.

    And the schools mostly have already recognized this. That's why so many have already gone test optional for next year's applicants.

    Btw, the "six feet apart" rule does absolutely *nothing* in terms of the safety of being in an enclosed space for hours at a time. Ventilation is critical. Being outside would be much safer.
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  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 3275 replies75 threads Senior Member
    DD is signed up for a SAT review class this summer. I believe she has the potential to get a high score and it will be another data point in her favor. As long as they get the upload issue they had with this year's APs fixed, she and I don't super care if the test is online or in person or by appointment at a testing center.

    At one point CB was talking about offering testing every weekend in the fall to fill whatever pent up demand may be out there. That could still happen. 6' apart was the pre-pandemic standard for AP tests anyway. Her school used a mix of classrooms, the auditorium and the cafeteria for the SATs, so future testing will probably only be done in classrooms... not a difficult adjustment.

    The class she signed up for filled up over a month ago. As summer plans started to fall through, kids started flocking to the few options available. One of those options is SAT prep. So while the CB has very few raving fans out there, this fall will still see considerable interest in the tests as well as some well prepared and high scoring students to boot.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 10525 replies581 threads Super Moderator
    College Board might stick around as a company because it also offers CLEP and AP exams, but I think ACT is going the way of the dodo.

    @MYOS1634, didn’t the UC system say they may devise their own test? I just don’t see some other metric for admission completely disappearing permanently, or at least not for more competitive schools. I suspect that this admission cycle is going to be a big mess, and that who gets in and who doesn’t is going to have a bigger element of “luck” than any other admission cycle in history.
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  • cinnamon1212cinnamon1212 1094 replies9 threads Senior Member
    Agree. Plus other things will assume a greater importance-- GPA, recommendations, essays, *ability to pay*.
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 43122 replies470 threads Senior Member
    Absolutely. The UCs have said they wouldn't require test scores for 4 years and hope to develop an admission test better suited to their needs in the meantime.
    I think they're a large enough system, with enough applicants, that they can pull it off and function entirely without the CB.
    If several of the other colleges that are "temporarily test optional" find that it didn't jeopardize quality, they may simply dispense with it.
    That leaves some flagships (where GPA*test scores is still the ruling formula) or perhaps even just their honors colleges and merit hunters.
    So really the students who'll really need test scores will be students who need merit.
    However, part of the idea of standardized testing is differentiation over a broad spectrum, which this group wouldn't represent. (We can assume not many in the 800-1100 group were seeking merit so if they have test optional choices the group would totally change and scores may no longer be worth what we think they're worth. Say, if the median test taker is the current-1300 type rather than the current-1000 type, what will happen?)
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 4974 replies86 threads Senior Member
    edited May 22
    I must not be understanding why UC would want to create their own standardized test.

    First, we know standardized test development is difficult.

    Next, we know that no matter the test, there will be an incentive to do well on it.

    That means, those with time and money will do test prep, just like now. Which is a large part of the inequitable system we have now.

    How would UC developing their own test eliminate this problem?


    edited May 22
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  • retiredfarmerretiredfarmer 1226 replies3 threads Senior Member
    edited May 24
    Can we resuscitate the subject of the entire admissions testing process back to an old thread?

    See https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/sat-act-tests-test-preparation/2084255-why-test-optional-admissions.html#latest


    (Moderator’s Note: linked thread reopened.)
    edited May 24
    Post edited by Lindagaf on
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  • roycroftmomroycroftmom 4076 replies40 threads Senior Member
    Strong scores will always help an application, even if a school is test optional. Many states will have schools open for regular testing by the end of August.
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