Crimson Review News

The State of Online Testing

As we’re all stuck at home, the obvious question around standardized tests is if students will be able to take tests online soon.  The situation is likely to continue evolving, but here’s what’s happening and in the works for now.


AP Tests – Completely Online in May

The College Board is giving AP exams as open-book, at-home tests.  These will be one or two free-response questions designed to show students’ mastery over the subjects.  They can be taken on virtually any device or written on paper with photos uploaded.  Full information can be found here.


The SAT – On Paper for Now

The College Board up to this point has been performing a slow rollout of computer testing.  Last year they tried out the PSAT 8/9, this coming fall they plan to offer the PSAT 10 (for 10th graders).  The PSAT NMSQT (11th graders, the one that counts for National Merit) is still planned to be on paper.  They are planning on offering the SAT digitally as part of school day administrations in the spring of 2021.  It’s possible they could accelerate this to the fall and provide additional test dates for students, but there as been no word to date.  In a recent announcement, they’ve stated that if students are still out of schools by the fall, they will provide some sort of online, at-home, SAT.  It seems highly likely that they have not even figured out what this would mean at this point, so we’re not able to speculate what it might look like or how it will impact students.


The ACT – Moving Digital

Prior to the coronavirus shutdown, the ACT org had already announced plans to move to more digital testing in the fall, including the ability for students to re-take only certain sections of the test.  Additionally, the ACT is offered ONLY in digital format for international students (this probably benefitted them in reducing costs as well as cheating).  This seems to have given them the leg up over the SAT – they have announced an in-home testing option for “late fall/early winter”.


What does this all mean for my student?

Ultimately, students will have some way of getting scores to submit to colleges.  They should have a plan for which test they are going to take, when, and prepare to the best of their abilities.  For this year, a great test score will be even more valuable than ever.