Dear Academic Approach Families and Colleagues:
We’re receiving, as expected, an influx of questions around test cancellations, rescheduling protocols, and planning. I’ve summarized some of these conversations with families and schools into the list of FAQs below. I hope you find it useful.
When should my juniors, who were planning on taking the SAT in April or June, plan to take the SAT now?
The SAT will be offered monthly starting in August and continuing in September, October, November, December. The College Board is planning a state-wide SAT in IL for public school students in October.
When should my juniors plan to take the ACT?
The June and July ACT dates are still scheduled, with increased flexibility. Even if the June ACT is canceled, the July ACT is definitely still an option for now.
Given the serious health risk that group gatherings present for our students, what will the ACT and SAT do to protect them?
Both ACT and the College Board are developing plans for at-home testing as well as online testing, with proctoring protocols to account for validity of test scores. We’ll keep you posted on these developments.
If the ACT and/or SAT go online, does that mean significant changes in test structure or content, like it did for the online versions of AP exams?
From the early releases of online tests we’ve seen, the test construct and content remains stable. That said, the change to at-home testing will likely involve changes in the way tests are proctored. We’ll keep you updated on any other changes that occur.
Is there a chance my students won’t be able to test at all on the ACT or SAT?
No. With ACT and SAT both confirming at-home options, students will definitively be able to test in the fall! They are also increasing capacity for the late summer/fall testing dates to make sure there is room for everyone.
I notice some colleges are going “test optional.” What does that mean for my students?
Test optional does NOT mean test blind. Test optional colleges and universities are not requiring SAT or ACT scores (in many cases, just for the class of 2021), but they will be considering them as part of the application package. SAT or ACT scores will still be an important way for students to demonstrate college readiness and competitiveness in the applicant field. This certainly presents increased flexibility for the class of 2021 applying to colleges.
Given that students are testing on delayed timelines, what should they be focused on right now?
Since the beginning of school closings, we’ve maintained the same position: we need to be mindful of supporting students’ social-emotional learning, and we need to be mindful of preventing academic learning loss.
First, let’s make sure everyone is safe in order to learn, and that students have the emotional supports to learn. Then, let’s work against academic learning loss. It’s important to keep students practicing math at the right levels of rigor and reading critically at the right levels of rigor. This is why, in particular, we are focusing supplements on math, the subject that suffers the greatest degree of summer learning loss, which may be compounded under present conditions.
What are some school leaders considering?
This is an important time to think creatively about summer programming options, whenever possible, since there will not be an abundance of time to prepare students for fall testing. This is why we are focused with our school partners on using spring testing data to customize summer programming solutions for skills-based instruction and bridge programs to make sure students come back to class prepared to be at grade level.
Please reach out if you have other questions or if we can help in any way.
Matthew Pietrafetta, Ph.D., Founder & CEO