The College Board and ACT said Wednesday that their admissions tests will soon be back.
But with more colleges going test optional on admissions, the testing organizations clearly wanted it known that they will return.
The College Board canceled the SAT for June 6 because "it wouldn't be safe," CEO David Coleman said at a press briefing. But he said if public health officials permit, the SAT will be back in August and a September date will be added. That means, he said, that the SAT will be offered every month (it already had testing dates in October, November and December) through end of 2020.
If the schools where the SAT is taken are not open in the fall, he said, an at-home version of the test would be offered. He said it would be secure and safe but that his preference is for in-school testing.
For those students who take the SAT during school hours, Coleman said the College Board will add a fall date to accommodate the 770,000 high school students who were scheduled for in-school tests that could not be given.
“We know students and educators are worried about how the coronavirus may disrupt the college admissions process, and we want to do all we can to help alleviate that anxiety during this very demanding time,” he said.
Meanwhile, the ACT has announced changes in its schedule but has not canceled a June test.
"Our primary concern at this time is the health and safety of students and our testing staff," said Ed Colby, a spokesman for ACT.
"As CDC and local guidelines for safety allow, in addition to our planned June 13 and July 18 test dates, we will be offering new test dates on June 20 and July 25 to provide students with options to schedule and reschedule their registration," he said. "We will also offer a remote proctoring option for the ACT test, allowing students to take the test at their home on a computer. As early as August, we will begin offering students a practice experience with the at-home ACT and will launch the option in late fall/early winter 2020 as part of our national testing program. We'll be releasing more information soon."
The number of colleges going test optional continues to grow and to include institutions with well-respected academics. This week alone, Swarthmore College, Tulane University and Virginia Tech announced one- or two-year experiments with test optional.
The Compass Education Group, a test-prep company, put up a blog post about the changes in dates. "As SAT and ACT testing resumes (whether at schools or online) over the summer and through the fall, is there clearly a surge in registration for these test dates as pent-up demand is accommodated? Is it obvious that the general consensus is that testing is as important as ever? Or has the test-optional movement finally reached a tipping point resulting in less test-taking activity? This will be known by October."
Robert Schaeffer, interim executive director of FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing, said, "These are totally predictable responses to the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, the explosive growth of schools announcing SAT/ACT-optional policies for fall 2021 and the serious threat to the College Board's fat bottom line from cancellation of several hundred thousand tests this spring."