College board prioritizing equity by canceling SAT essay, subject testing


Alex Jimenez Enero

Due to COVID-19, the College Board has decided to eliminate the essay portion of the SAT as well as SAT subject tests. After June, the essay will no longer be offered in an effort to make the standardized test more cheaper to lower income students.

Eva Wheeler, Staff Writer

On Jan. 19, the College Board announced major changes to the SAT as a result of  COVID-19 and its goal of making testing available for everyone. These alterations included discontinuing the SAT subject tests and SAT essay in the United States. 

Students who paid for subject tests will be refunded and the optional essay will not be a part of the standardized test after June. 

Subject tests, including math, English, biology, chemistry and U.S. history, were offered by the College Board to test students’ knowledge in specific areas. They are scored on a 200-800 scale and cover many of the same subjects as College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) examinations. 

“Eliminating the subject tests eliminates a duplication in assessment,” Coppell ISD executive director for teaching and learning Dr. Deana Dynis said.  “It is positive in that it does not require learners to sit for multiple tests over the same information.” 

College Board said in a statement: “We’re making substantial investments in the SAT suite and in tools to help colleges connect with students, The expanded reach of AP and its widespread availability for low-income students and students of color means the subject tests are no longer necessary for students to show what they know.”

These decisions create several questions for Coppell High School students, the main one being: is this a negative or positive change?

“It’s a negative change, because you need to know how to write essays,” CHS sophomore Dave Patel said. “The College Board needs to know if you have any punctuation issues or certain grammar mistakes.” 

Another question is, will this help students succeed more? The school essay may be difficult, depending on a student’s English proficiency level. Additionally, the elimination of the essay portion takes away 50 minutes of test-taking time. 

“The essay was not the end all be all; it was only a small portion,” CHS English teacher Matthew Bowden said. “The exams have four sections: reading, writing, math with/without calculator and then the essay. Let’s say they did good on the reading and writing and were good at writing their thoughts down, the essay was positive.” 

Dr. Dynis thinks the changes the College Board has made will be beneficial in the long run. 

“As with most organizations, constant improvement is the goal,” Dr. Dynis said. “Without a crystal ball, I can’t predict what they will do next, but I believe this is the next right move. Eliminating the subject tests eliminates a duplication in assessment. It is positive in that it does not require learners to sit for multiple tests over the same information.” 

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