Big news from the College Board: the SAT (Optional) Essay will be eliminated after the June 2021 test.
And the College Board will no longer offer SAT Subject Tests effective immediately (though international students can still take them in May and June of 2021 but not beyond).
The writing was on the wall for the SAT Subject Tests. Over the past several years, fewer colleges required these tests. And some estimated that only about 10% of all test takers also took SAT Subject Tests.
However, the elimination of the essay on the SAT is a major shift. Not since the current SAT format was launched in 2016 has the College Board made such a bold change to the testing experience.
For students, this is huge. There will no longer be any need to prepare for the essay. This will save students time, money and energy in test preparation.
As for the College Board, the assumption is that the cost of administering the essays did not yield the benefit. Consider that the College Board had to hire and train hundreds of essay readers. With revenue down because of COVID-19, it is safe to say that this is a likely a cost-cutting measure.
Besides, as much as the SAT Essay scoring system was standardized, scores were assigned by different individuals thus making any true standardization virtually impossible.
So win, win for all. Right? It would sure seem so.
Yet maybe the losers in this are the students who wanted an opportunity of an essay or a subject test to demonstrate proficiency. Or maybe colleges, like those who used test scores to supplement other rigorous academic assessment, will need to find some other metrics.
The question now is: what will the ACT do? Drop the essay too? Or will with the ACT Essay (also optional) serve as a unique point of differentiation between two very similar tests?
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