Harder Urges College Board to Move Testing Online during Pandemic

October 1, 2020
Press Release
Nearly 100,000 Students Unable to Complete SAT in August Due to Testing Site Closures

WASHINGTON – Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) today is calling on College Board CEO, David Coleman, to adapt testing protocol for the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) to allow students to complete the exam during the Coronavirus Pandemic. Of 183,000 students scheduled to take the August exam, more than half were unable to take the test due to testing site closures and an unwillingness of the College Board to allow for online testing.

“I truly can’t understand the logic here – you have to take this test to get into college, but more than half of testing sites are closed – what are these kids supposed to do?” Said Rep. Harder. “Students shouldn’t have to put their health at risk to shoot their shot at a chance to go to college – or have to drive for hours to find a testing site that’s actually open.”

While some colleges nationwide have waived the SAT requirement for admission during the pandemic, many still require it. Other prerequisite tests have successfully adapted to the Coronavirus, the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), and Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) all offer at home or online test-taking options.

The full letter is available here and the text of the letter is below.

Dear Mr. Coleman,

I am writing to urge you to come up with a swift and effective solution for the hundreds of thousands of students who are unable to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) due to site closures and an unwillingness to provide flexibility for at-home testing. Your inaction on this issue so far has hurt students applying to be part of the class of 2025, and, if continued, will begin to impact the class of 2026 as well.

An inability to conduct on-site standardized testing is a known effect of the coronavirus pandemic, and has been for some time. Of the 183,000 students scheduled to take the August exam, more than half of those were unable to actually take the exam. This past month, more than half of all test sites were closed for the September 26th test date and more are expected to follow suit for October as college application deadlines approach.

Other organizations have come up with ways around the Coronavirus crisis, including the Law School Admission Counsel with the online Law School Admissions Test (LSAT)-Flex test, the Educational Testing Service with its Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test at-home option, and the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) Online. There is now significant precedent for moving admissions tests online or otherwise altering test details to better accommodate applicants during the coronavirus crisis, and in fact, your organization is now one of the last major test providers without an online option. Many more schools have made the SAT optional for admissions, but there are still schools that require it.

Students should not be feel required to put their health at risk for their chance to go to college, and they should not be subject to the ability of their local test sites to weather the crisis, nor to the prevalence of the pandemic in their region of the country. Please do all you can to correct these inequities and expand access to the SAT. Thank you for your time, and I look forward to receiving your response.