College Board Cancels SAT Subject Tests and Essay

Like you, we are all carefully assessing the meaning and effects of today’s College Board announcement regarding the elimination of the Subject Tests and the SAT Essay.

The SAT Subject Tests have long been a great equalizer in terms of assessing students’ proficiencies in particular subjects regardless of their educational background and access. The Subject Tests allowed students to demonstrate proficiency and rise above whatever conceptions or misconceptions may have existed regarding their background, schooling, or other experiences.

The SAT Essay had in recent years been reformed to reflect more college-appropriate standards of writing ability. In college, students are expected to break down and analyze assigned texts. They need to understand an author’s main argument but also the literary, grammatical, and structural elements that pertain to presenting arguments in effective ways. These are skills for their entire lives beyond schooling, and the new essay sought to test for that. Unfortunately, as we also work with students in their day-to-day academics, we see how little such fundamental writing skills have been taught in recent years.

There are rumblings that the shift in emphasis will now be toward the AP program. Some schools have moved away from offering APs entirely, preferring their own honors class-based curricula. It was here that the Subject Tests allowed students who had not had AP-level preparation and practice, but who had taken an ‘honors-level’ course, to demonstrate proficiency.

As such, we foresee the APs taking on an increasingly important place in the college-application process. At its heart, this decision today affects the fundamental reality of what college admissions now have at their disposal when making decisions.

For students who do not have access to AP this year, or who are in APs but want to make sure they are as prepared as possible, we are here to help. AP Exams are open to students who have not taken AP courses in school.

We will be monitoring the discussions and notices from the College Board in the coming weeks. Please let us know if you have any questions, thoughts, or concerns. We are here for you.