Standardized testing. Those two words trigger anxiety and dread for thousands of students every year, especially during COVID-19 when ACTs and SATs were cancelled for months on end and websites crashed in the process of obtaining spots for local testing. This year, almost all colleges went test-optional, meaning they didn’t require standardized tests as part of the college application process. Coupled with the rise of many national protest organizations pointing out the flaws of the current standardized testing process, including issues of equity and the safety of grouping students together to take tests in-person during the pandemic, it’s not a stretch to wonder what the future of standardized testing is for the next generation of students.
The recent announcement from the College Board that SAT Subject tests will be discontinued immediately for national students, and phased out internationally in the coming months, further adds to the question of whether standardized testing may start to be eliminated for good. Additionally, they announced that starting this summer, the optional 50 minute essay that is a part of the main SAT exam will only be available in certain states, such as Oklahoma and Delaware. While many students still choose to take the essay (more than half, according to the College Board’s data analysis), it is becoming less relevant to many universities and many don’t consider it in their review process. These announcements mark a significant step in the national movement towards the end of testing as a means to evaluating students in college admissions. As a senior applying to college during the pandemic and noticing these changes arise, my advice to sophomores and juniors would be to continue focusing on academics, as transcripts are a significant factor in the quantitative measure of your high school accomplishments, and to continue preparing (or starting to prepare) for the SAT/ACT: institutional change towards dismissing these tests as a whole may take years, so don’t throw away those Kaplan books yet!