Two of the hurdles high school students have had to jump through on their path to college, have now been removed. Both the essay portion of the SAT and the additional subject tests will be discontinued.
Over the last few years, many colleges dropped their requirements for both of these measures. Subject tests covered dozens of subjects in depth. Each exam was an hour long and was graded, like the main sections of the test, out of 800 points. And, the optional essay which was 50 minutes long was introduced into the test in 2005 and forced a student to write to a prompt.
In the US the subject tests will be scrapped immediately and the essay will be removed in June.
As more students have started taking AP courses followed by AP exams, those tests have have begun to replace to SAT subjects tests as the measure of a deeper dive into a single area of study.
“AP provides a much richer and more flexible way for students to distinguish themselves,” Davis Coleman, chief executive of the College Board explained. With subject tests off the table, AP exam results may be a greater focus among students as they apply to colleges as a way to show subject mastery.
Eliminating the essay will shorten the test taking time for high school students and relieve the stress of so many students who found it challenging to write against the clock.
The College Board also announced that they will be revising the main SAT but did not give further details. The will be moving towards an exam that students can take on a computer rather than the old fashioned pencil and bubble sheet.
During the pandemic many schools went “test optional” or “test blind” as testing sites were closed and students were unable to sit the exam, probably hastening the end for the subject tests and essay. Further information about changes to the SAT will be forthcoming in April.