Updated September 1, 2020
Harvard-Westlake now posts updated test information to their website. Smart! That will save them 1,000 phone calls, mostly from Tutor Ted. Link right here.
Some test centers are open, many are closed. Rumors abound, many are not true (including one that all test centers in California are closed… they aren’t.) It’s difficult to get a seat, and if you do get a seat, then you have to test with a bunch of other students for three hours. It’s a crap time to be a kid getting ready for college. You have my empathy.
Fun game to play on those websites: see how the “SAT vs. ACT” battle wages on even under pandemic quarantine.
ACT announces three additional test dates in the fall. This particular test prep professional wonders what exactly will be different in the fall? But I am not in charge of the ACT, so what does my opinion matter?
Section retesting, ACT’s big new thing, is OFF for this fall. Students taking the test will have to sit for the entire exam. ACT says it’s because they’ll need the extra desk space for the volume of students who will be testing.
ACT also says that students will have the option of taking the test via computer rather than via a paper test at some test sites this fall, and at all test sites soon. Word from Tutor Ted: don’t do it. The online version of the test is difficult to use. Student scores travel 1-2 points lower. You don’t want that.
SAT is NOT going to be able to administer in-home tests this fall. A good concept that’s nearly impossible to execute successfully. That’s too bad.
We are offering a free class this summer to help keep students’ reading levels high. Yup, it’s free. Come on in and take it—I think it’s going to be fun, actually!
Here’s a useful tool from College Board that tells you how booked test sites are by geographical area. My advice: don’t be hesitant to drive somewhere a little further than you would like. The inconvenience on one Saturday morning is outweighed by the advantage of getting a test score!
Looks like a LOT of ACT sites are canceled for June according to this link on ACT’s website. No tests in Connecticut or Massachusetts. Many of our favorite sites in California closed. Will the July test happen?
University of California system update: the Regents have voted, and the SAT and ACT are out as admissions tests. Will this be the beginning of the end for SAT and ACT? It could be. A lot more would need to happen first, but this is the most significant strike against the viability of those tests that I’ve ever seen.
AP/College Board has some REALLY useful AP test review videos. Check them out here.
June SAT cancelled. September date added to the College Board schedule. See my thoughts below.
ACT is going to offer at-home testing over the summer. Assuming that test will be the current online test that’s given everywhere around the world except the US. More news here.
Tutor Ted announces small-group review classes for certain AP tests.
University of California system will NOT require standardized tests from students in the high school class of 2021. Students can submit scores if they feel it will benefit/support their application.
Complete list of schools that will be test-optional for the high school class of 2021.
Some colleges loosening requirements for SAT Subject Tests. See list of who wants what here.
AP tests will be held a week later than scheduled, and online at a location of the student’s choosing. All exams will be free-response—essays, long-form math problems—and each one will be 45 minutes in length in total. Visit this link for details on each exam.
I offered a series of free Lessons Under Quarantine. Check them out here.
The two major players who’ll decide the fate of the test prep industry are the test makers themselves, and the colleges/universities that use them. Students, obliged to do whatever the colleges ask of them, are along for the ride. When the UC system replaces the SAT and ACT with a test of its own, it’ll rattle those two business somewhat. By itself it won’t be a fatal blow. It COULD start an avalanche, but we’ll have to wait and see what other colleges do. Generating your own, fair test requires a major investment of resources. Plus, each school that needs a new test would have to create its own, unless they got together and created a universal college admissions test… which is what the SAT and ACT are supposed to be. Will the UC announcement be the death of the test prep industry? Probably not. It’ll alter what tests certain students take, but by adding in a brand new test, it will, if anything, grow the test prep industry. I say that not as some blind believer in test prep… I just look at what the colleges want and don’t hear too many of them saying that they want one fewer factor by which to measure a student.
David Coleman, College Board CEO, said today (and I’m paraphrasing), “We think it’s irresponsible to bring a large group of students together in June, and we want to keep the adults safe as well.” That is a shot over ACT’s bow.
SAT is working on an online test. From their messaging, they’ll only release it if they have to. David Coleman compared it to the AP tests-under-COVID format. Sounds to me like it’ll be a different test.
ACT has an online test. I’ve used it. It stinks. Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself. Of the students we’ve had who have taken the online version of the test, their scores travel two points lower across the board compared to the paper test. There are major glitches in the platform, including the fact that you can highlight within a reading passage, but those highlights disappear when you move to the next question. The timing across the test is identical to the timing on the paper test, but the format is less user-friendly. And if students are performing two points worse on it, how could I possibly recommend it?
SAT says they will “offer monthly national test dates throughout the fall, beginning in August.” What that really means: they added a September test date. Sarcastic thumbs up emoji.
I tried this new test, the CLT, or Classic Learning Test. I am totally disappointed by how similar to the SAT it is.
Is now a good time to reconsider what we value in education? I for one value creativity, problem-solving skill, reading skill (of all kinds and at all levels), and writing ability. I had the idea to make a test that tests those skills. Reach out to me if you have thoughts about how to get a project as crazy as that off the ground.
We’re working with our kids via Zoom, our longtime online platform of choice. We have also developed a course for proctoring practice tests to our students. Reach out to Uma to sign up for that course. It’s free.
I think it’s a kind decision that some colleges are making tests be optional for next year. We’ll support our students in any way we are able. For some, that will be by helping them get ready for their test so they can demonstrate their performance and stand out from the pack. Whatever they need, we’ll be ready.