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Students could take SAT at home if schools remain closed

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A home version of the SAT college entrance exam is being prepared in case schools remain closed into the fall, College Board officials said Wednesday as they announced the cancellation of June testing.

Instead of a paper-and-pencil test given under proctors’ supervision, the home version would be digital and rely on “remote proctoring.” That could include using the computer’s camera and microphone to monitor movement or talking, College Board President Jeremy Singer said on a conference call with reporters.

The rival ACT also will launch an at-home option in late fall or early winter, the exam’s administrators said Wednesday.

“We would much prefer that schools reopen but we are ready to innovate and deliver in the unlikely case we need to,” College Board Chief Executive David Coleman said.

Coronavirus-related school closures forced the cancellation of spring testing for about 1 million first-time SAT test-takers, the majority of them high school juniors planning to enter college in 2021, College Board officials said. The national June 6 session is the latest to be canceled.

“We would much prefer that schools reopen but we are ready to innovate and deliver in the unlikely case we need to,” College Board Chief Executive David Coleman said.

The three-hour, multiple choice test measures math and English language arts proficiency. The ACT also has a science component.

Most colleges require SAT or ACT exam scores as part of the application process, though an increasing number of institutions have made them optional in recent years, often to be more inclusive of students without access to private test-preparation available to wealthier peers.

In response to the coronavirus, California’s public universities and several other institutions around the country have made the tests optional only for 2021 applicants.

If it’s safe, the College Board will resume and expand in-person SAT testing in August, with Saturday sessions offered once a month through December, officials said. Students who had planned to take the SAT for free in school this spring can instead take it in the fall.

The not-for-profit College Board earlier announced plans to offer Advanced Placement final exams at home for high school students whose schools will remain closed through the May testing dates. The College Board has offered to help students and schools secure devices and internet access if needed.

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