Many students in the high school class of 2021 had the SAT cancelled in the spring of 2020. Now we have all found out that most colleges are not requiring the SAT for the class of 2021. No one knows how all the students will respond to this. It's a very complicated situation. Who will decide to take the optional test this year? Will all students take it? That's not likely. Will likely low scorers take it? Probably not. If a student is not confident they would have gotten a good score in a normal administration, why would they take it in a test-optional year? Now, for the potential high scorers, it's a benefit to their college application to take the test, so many will probably opt in to take the test. The problem with this, is that then this year's test taking pool is all confident students who are likely to get higher scores, certainly mostly higher than the 50th percentile.
So, in other words, if all the lower than 50th percentile test takers don't take the test, then every one taking the test is above the 50th percentile. If the scores are then generated from this pool of all strong scorers, then many of these students will get lower scores, than what they would have gotten in a regular pool of test takers because that's just how percentiles work. Anyways, this is a complicated problem and I don't think anyone has a precise answer. I am interested in an intelligent discussion about this, that maybe will clarify for me what I may not be seeing about this situation. I would love to find out that the College Board can assure all class of 2021 test takers that the scores will be scored according to the same percentiles of all previous years. If this is true, then it is likely that a the actual SAT raw score average should go up significantly for the class of 2021 , but the percentiles for these scores will be the same as they were for all recent prior classes.