College Board Discontinues the SAT Essay and SAT Subject Tests

College Board Discontinues the SAT Essay and SAT Subject Tests

The COVID-19 pandemic has tightened all resources, especially for test-taking efforts, typically administered by the two education giants: College Board with the SAT and with their proprietary test, the ACT. And with the pandemic, many colleges and universities have done the first: making test-taking optional, and some even like the University of California being completely test-blind, a decision that is likely to prevail within the next academic school year. 

“As students and colleges adapt to new realities and changes to the college admissions process, College Board is making sure our programs adapt with them. We’re making some changes to reduce demands on students,” a statement by the College Board

Starting in June 2021, SAT Subject Tests and the optional SAT essay will no longer be offered and ultimately discontinued. While these sections will become removed, College Board has said that the “SAT will continue to measure writing throughout the test.” Changes introduced by College Board were further built on the many changes to the 2020-21 college admissions cycle as many schools became test-optional or test-blind. Some even removing the added requirement of taking SAT Subject Tests like MIT. However, others still enforced the recommendation, such as UC Berkeley for specific majors within the College of Chemistry and Engineering. 

The test-optional policy has also translated locally to WCCUSD, where the annual SAT day did not occur in October. Factors like school closures associated with the pandemic and counselors mentioning that “there is no need to take the SAT/ACT as colleges have new policies in place for the 2020-2021 college admissions cycle” most likely affected the reasoning behind not administering the test.

In 2020, additionally with the pandemic, the University of California Regents introduced new features to the standardized test requirement on the application by removing the optional SAT Essay/ACT Writing Test requirement and only looking at the scores received in the current math and English Language Arts sections. Some, though, have the option to submit Advanced Placement scores as a matter of attempt and proficiency in a given subject during one’s high school career, and colleges will look at this portion as an additional section to the holistic review process. 

College Board’s efforts mark a new step as a permanent change, is introduced into the college admissions process. As time evolves, the role of standardized tests will continue to diminish as most colleges apply a holistic review process and look for other indicators of academic success.