Hello Families –
I hope that everyone is safe and healthy in these unusual and interesting times. I wanted to provide an update about college testing options while everyone has some extra time to plan and prepare.
Even though College Board announced that it will not be hosting its June 6 SAT, the ACT is still planning on hosting two tests in June – the originally scheduled June 10 test and the new date of June 13 – as well as two dates in July: originally scheduled July 13 th and new date July 18 th . 1 The ACT is open to exploring the use of brick and mortar locations other than schools, including learning centers from its partner Kaplan. The ACT is also planning on launching online in-home testing by late fall as one additional form of testing. 2 The in-home testing will use a form of remote proctoring, just like the LSAT, GRE and GMAT have already announced and begun starting in June. And, don’t forget that, beginning in September, the ACT will offer online testing for one or more sections of the ACT for those students who do not need to re-take the entire test but only one or two sections. For those who would like to participate in some Free Kaplan ACT test-prep during this down time, there is a virtual BootCamp on April 29 th at 7 pm and a Verbal webinar on May 5 th at 7 pm. 3
I listened to a 90-minute webinar on April 17th with top testing experts including the CEO of the ACT (as well as CEO of LSAT) discuss the testing industry changes given Covid-19. They are all grappling with similar issues of equity, accessibility, ability to offer similar accommodations for students needing them, and how to roll out and communicate their new program offerings. Remote proctoring has been used extensively for five to ten years, and with high-stakes testing (like the ACT), test-makers have opted to do live person remote proctoring using a student’s webcam, in addition to using artificial intelligence to track a student’s eye movements to flag potential issues or cheating. A second form of remote proctoring that has been used extensively is recording, again using webcam and AI software.
The CEO of the ACT emphasized that the new in-home online tests to be introduced this late fall will likely be offered going forward on a permanent basis and will not be the only form of testing. He emphasized the issues of equity and accessibility; consequently, his goal is to offer many different types of testing to make the test more convenient for all students. Alternatives will include paper tests at schools and other learning centers and online tests in-home and at testing centers.
It is important to understand the context that the ACT has been an online test outside of the U.S. for some time, and it no longer offers a paper test in the other countries. So, it has invested in IT for online testing for some time. College Board, even though it has remained silent, has also heavily invested in IT, bringing interactive online Question-and-Answer (QAS) results for PSATs for several years and all SATs beginning in March 2018.
College Board announced similar in-home online testing to begin in the fall ONLY IF schools do not re-open this fall. It is expanding national testing dates for paper tests in schools to include every month of 2020 starting in August. There will also be fall in-school tests (for states such as CT that have the SAT as a diploma exit exam requirement) that replace the cancelled April tests. Last, those students who had registered for the June SAT will be given priority for testing in August, September and October. 4
Given these announcements, I would strongly recommend that students who had been prepping for the ACT/SAT prior to the shelter-in-place and closing of schools consider a plan to either continue or re-engage consistently with their practice material, tutors/coaches, and progress tests.
1 - https://www.insidehighered.com/admissions/article/2020/04/16/collegeboard-and-act-announce-plans-continue-testing-fall
2 - http://leadershipblog.act.org/2020/04/act-to-offer-students-additionalsummer.html
3 - https://www.act.org/content/act/en/covid19.html?cid=referral:other:mediathought-leadership-and-advocacy--:dc_3040-internal-organic-032520mr015218media&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=other&utm_campaign=mediathought-leadership-and-advocacy--&utm_content=dc_3040-internal-organic032520-mr015218-media
4 - https://www.collegeboard.org/releases/2020/college-board-shares-plansprovide-students-opportunities-take-sat-2020