College board drops SAT essay and subject tests

By Jenna Yingling ’21

The College Board announced on Tuesday, January 19th that the SAT Subject Tests and essay will no longer be offered to high school students in the United States. The organization stated in a blog post that two more administrations of the Subject Tests will be open to international students, and all students registered to take the SAT with the essay will be able to test through the June 2021 date.

“We’re making some changes to reduce demands on students,” claimed the College Board.

The organization recognizes that many high schoolers across the country have faced limited access to SAT and ACT tests due to school shutdowns and other COVID-19 related complications. In fact, most colleges in the United States have gone SAT optional this year due to the lack of test opportunities across the country.

However, the College Board also concluded that the Subject Tests and essay are no longer financially viable to the company.

“The College Board is technically a non-profit organization but operates very much like a corporation that has to protect investors,” said Senior Director of Advocacy and Advancement at FairTest, Akil Bello.

In recent years, very few colleges have included SAT Subject Tests as an admissions requirement. Students and universities alike agree that Advanced Placement tests are a better way for college-bound high schoolers to demonstrate their skill in specific academic subjects, like history, biology, and physics. The Advanced Placement tests have also achieved increased availability for more students of diverse backgrounds and incomes.

Many universities are also prone to neglecting the SAT essay in the admissions process.

“When the essay was a required part of the SAT and included in the overall score, from 2005 to 2016, many colleges ignored that portion of the score,” said Bello.

Since student practices tend to follow college policies, the number of test takers taking the essay has dropped significantly in recent years.

Regardless of the College Board’s motives for dropping the AP Subject Tests and essay, students and their families are relieved to be rid of the extra hassle and expenses of additional testing.

3 thoughts on “College board drops SAT essay and subject tests

  1. I believe dropping the essay is also a cost-savings measure as the College Board does not need to pay people to read and score the essay!

  2. i think colleges would be better of doing placement test because it allows more diversity. The increase in diversity will provide the college with a variety of views that can allow a better understanding of injustices.

  3. I believe that removing the essays will allow many colleges to get more submissions and more diversity within their student applications.

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