The SAT is Dropping its Essay Section, Subject Matter Tests During Pandemic

The College Board announced on Tuesday that it would drop the optional essay section from the SAT college entrance examination, which it administers, and that it would stop administering subject-matter tests in the United States, as part of a streamlining process that was accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The board said it would continue to develop a version of the SAT test that could be administered digitally, something it tried and failed to do quickly last year, after the pandemic shut down testing centers and forced the organization to cancel many administrations of the test. The board gave no time frame for when a digital version of the SAT might be introduced.

“The pandemic accelerated a process already underway at the College Board to simplify our work and reduce demands on students,” the organization said in a statement.

The board said Advanced Placement tests, which it also administers, were now available to more low-income students and students of color, making the SAT subject-matter tests unnecessary. And it said there were now many ways for high school students to display their writing skills, making the essay section of the SAT, which was already optional, less necessary.

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