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The Uncertain Future of Testing

Twenty twenty has been a difficult year for the standardized testing industry, specifically the SAT and ACT.  Over the spring and summer, the ACT and SAT cancelled tests and hundreds of colleges, including highly selective ones, joined the test optional movement, at least for the 2020-2021 season.

Jeff Selingo, author of the NY Times Bestseller book, Who Gets In and Why:  A Year Inside College Admissions reported that:

  • Some schools are seeing big gains in diversity. “We are very pleased about that and it’s something that will make a return to required testing harder to do,” said the dean at one private SAT and ACTresearch university.
  • The most extensive report on testing and admissions came from the dean of a large public research university with a national footprint that reported:
    • 59% of students submitted scores
    • 56% were in-state; 75% out-of-state; 43% international
    • 75% engineering; 55% business; 35% educational, social work, etc
  • The 12 universities in the University of Florida system are among the few big schools that have not gone test optional.
    • These universities are seeing a 50% drop in applications
  • Early in November, 30% of students who registered for the SAT were unable to take it because of test center limits or closings. That number was closer to 50% earlier this fall.
  • If tests continue to be cancelled in equal numbers for high school juniors who will begin taking the test in the spring, colleges that went test optional for 2021 will have to make a decision for the class of 2022.
  • The more selective the university and the more selective the major, the higher the percentage of students needing to submit scores in the future.

ACT Test 2021*

ACT Test Date:                  Registration Deadline                    Late Deadline

February 6                          January 8                                             January 15

April 17                                 March 12                                              March 26

June 12                                 May 7                                                     May 21


SAT Test 2021*

March 13                             February 12                                        March 2

May 8                                    April 8                                                   April 27

June 5                                   May 6                                                    May 26

Please check before registering to find out where the test is being offered.  Many testing centers have closed or consolidated.