Update on Fall SAT Administrations
Health and Safety
As schools continue to navigate uncertainties due to the coronavirus, the top priorities for College Board are the health and safety of students and educators.
Local schools and test centers make individual decisions about whether to administer the SAT. All weekend test centers must adhere to local public health guidelines and follow College Board requirements:
- All students and staff are required to wear a mask or protective face covering during an SAT administration. Students won't be allowed in the test center without a mask, which is required for the duration of testing.
- Students must be seated at least 6 feet apart during testing.
- Students and staff must confirm a series of statements (e.g. they don’t have Covid symptoms and they haven’t violated travel restrictions) prior to entering the test center or testing room. (see the full list of questions here).
- Students who violate the requirements put in place by their test center or College Board must be dismissed from the test center; if this happens their scores will be canceled, and they won't receive a refund.
SAT Administration Details:
Approximately 382,000 students originally registered to take the SAT and SAT Subject Tests on August 29. Due to 51% of local test centers deciding to close or reduce capacity due to covid-related health and safety measures, more than 245,000 students were unable to test on August 29th. In total, approximately 137,000 students took the SAT and SAT Subject Tests in August worldwide.
Approximately 307,000 students registered for the September 26 SAT® administration and 362,000 for the October 3 SAT and SAT Subject Tests™ administration. As a result of local test centers deciding to close or reduce capacity due to covid-related health and safety measures, 171,000 September-registered students and 194,000 October-registered students were unable to test. Of test centers initially scheduled to administer the tests, 60% were open for September and 58% were open for October, though some had reduced capacity. In total, approximately 304,000 students were able to take the SAT and SAT Subject Tests™ in September and October worldwide.
Approximately 296,000 students registered for the November 7 SAT® and SAT Subject Tests™ administration. As a result of local test centers deciding to close or reduce capacity due to covid-related health and safety measures, over 135,000 November-registered students were unable to test. Final participation numbers will be forthcoming in the next few weeks. Of test centers initially scheduled to administer the tests, 67% remained open for November, though some had reduced capacity; 33% of centers announced they would be closed.
Update on Fall PSAT/NMSQT Administrations
College Board’s top priority during the October PSAT/NMSQT administrations remained the health and safety of students and educators. Testing took place worldwide on October 14th, 17th, and 29th and we provided new testing options, including offsite testing and flexible start times. While some schools were unable to administer the PSAT/NMSQT as planned due to the pandemic, approximately 1.3M students participated in the PSAT/NMSQT this fall.
The College Board will be working closely with higher education, high schools, and families to provide additional flexibility and ways for students to connect with colleges. These include:
- January PSAT/NMSQT administration – we are offering a winter administration of the PSAT/NMSQT on January 26th for schools unable to offer the assessment this fall. This administration will have the same benefits as the October PSAT/NMSQT, including eligibility for programs administered by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. We anticipate this administration to be will be smaller than the fall. We will follow up with a better estimate after registration closes in the beginning of December.
- New virtual events – early next year we will host a series of virtual college fairs where students can have energizing and authentic conversations with colleges and admissions representatives. Look out for more information to come very soon.
Test Center Availability and Capacity
This year, many schools and test centers have had reduced capacity because of social distancing guidelines, and students may encounter unexpected closures. While College Board cannot directly control capacity and test center availability, we are working to ensure that as many students as possible are able to test safely.
We have urged member colleges to provide flexibility to students in three ways:
- Accepting scores as late as possible in their process, especially by extending score deadlines for early action and early decision to take some pressure off and give students more time to test and send their scores.
- Equally considering students for admission who were unable to take the assessment due to Covid-19 as those who submitted scores.
- Recognizing that students who do submit scores may not have been able to take the test more than once (e.g., understanding that retaking the test to improve scores may not be possible for some who tested as high school juniors, but could no test again as seniors).
And of course, it’s more important than ever to pay close attention to the context in which all students live and learn as you make admissions decisions.
Expanded Administration this Fall
Beginning in August, we began administering the SAT every month through the end of the calendar year.
The current list of fall SAT administrations includes:
|*indicates School Day test administration
Updated Higher Ed Reporting Portal
College and university leaders have asked us for a more dynamic and interactive way to analyze and understand the SAT score reports they receive from students. This September, we launched a new, updated portal that will allow users to see students’ scores online, view enhanced trend reports, and export data for offline analysis. Note that these updates will not affect automatic data or the score reporting process.
We have created a quick, on-demand training module that provides a walkthrough of the updated features of reporting portal suitable for all higher ed staff.
Predicting Academic Outcomes through the Pandemic
We know that admissions and enrollment leaders rely on information an SAT score provides about students’ college readiness. We continue to urge flexibility in admissions processes for students who are unable to take the SAT, or who are unable to test more than once. We encourage colleges and universities to explore recent College Board research around the utility of AP course and Exam information in admissions and the insights into student performance that these measures can provide. Additionally, ACES™, the College Board’s free online validity study service, can allow institutions to explore different predictors of college success, including students’ average AP exam score and number of AP courses/exams taken.
How We're Communicating These Changes with Students
Local schools and test centers make individual decisions about whether to administer the SAT. The College Board has asked test centers to report closures as quickly as possible to help ensure students are informed in advance of test day. When test centers notify the College Board they have closed or reduced capacity, the College Board will email students directly to inform them of the change. A full list of reported closures is posted on the College Board Test Center Closings page, which is updated continuously. The College Board is encouraging students to opt in to receive text message updates if they haven’t already. Students are also encouraged to check their email regularly for messages from the College Board, to check with their local test center, and to check the Test Center Closings page up until the morning of the test.
We will continue to provide updates for students, families, and our K–12 and higher ed members via our website, blog posts, email, and social media as we have new information.
We also urge you to encourage students to put their best foot forward by submitting all relevant information, and to be creative in requesting non-traditional information that highlights students’ strengths. We have produced a series of documents with exemplar language from our member institutions:
About Fee Waivers
About the SAT Fee Waiver Program for the 2020-21 School Year
Each year, more than 750,000 SAT and SAT Subject Tests™ are taken with a fee waiver. In light of the nationwide impact of covid-19, we’re working hard to ensure as many eligible students as possible have access to SAT fee waivers.
In an effort to connect more students to the opportunities they’ve earned, College Board has expanded its distribution of electronic fee waiver codes to school counselors, test coordinators, and community-based organizations to make it easier for students to access SAT fee waivers. By expanding access to electronic fee waiver codes, school counselors can get their students the SAT fee waiver codes they need safely, and students can use them quickly right from home.
This work to expand access to electronic fee waiver codes includes:
- Targeted outreach to students, including emails to fee waiver–eligible students.
- Bolstering fee waiver information and resources for school counselors online.
- Featuring SAT fee waiver information in upcoming counselor professional development opportunities.
- Email outreach to school counselors and SAT coordinators to encourage electronic fee waiver code distribution to their eligible students. Additional supporting resources will also be provided.
- Delivering hundreds of thousands of electronic fee waiver codes to state and district partners to distribute to their eligible students.
All students who have been assigned fee waivers for the 2020-21 school year can access them through the College Board student reporting portal.
Students who utilized a Fee Wavier to register and then had their registration cancelled due to covid-19 will have the SAT registration benefit returned to their College Board account for future use.
Please note that, in compliance with local, state, and federal safety regulations, College Board phone support hours are 9 a.m.–6 p.m. ET, M–F. We recognize that, due to the new schedule and high volume of calls, wait times may be longer than normal. Thank you for your patience as we work to serve you.
For more information about SAT fee waivers, please visit sat.org/feewaivers.
We have also developed the following resources to support your staff and help them answer questions through your recruitment and admissions conversations this year. They are: