The at-home SAT test "locks down everything else in the computer" to avoid cheating and monitor test-takers remotely

By Benjamin VanHoose
April 16, 2020 10:24 AM
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College admission exams could soon be conducted at the individual homes of test-takers.

Due to widespread school closures around the country because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, major tests like the SAT and the ACT could be administered to high school students remotely.

College Board, the not-for-profit organization that arranges SATs and PSATs, outlined that it would move to alternative measures if classrooms stay shutdown into the next school year. June test dates have been canceled in the meantime.

“In the unlikely event that schools do not reopen this fall, College Board will provide a digital SAT for home use, like how we’re delivering digital exams to 3 million AP students this spring,” College Board wrote in an update on its website. “As we’re doing with at-home Advanced Placement exams, we would ensure that at-home SAT testing is simple, secure and fair, accessible to all, and valid for use in college admissions.”

The organization added that the remote version of the SAT would be digital rather than a paper exam, and would still “measure what students are learning in school and what they need to know to be successful in college.”

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A spokesperson for the ACT, another major college-entry exam, told The New York Times that they also would make the leap to remote testing. The outlet noted that some universities have temporarily made test results optional for those applying for 2021.

For the SAT, College Board specified that it will move forward with testing dates starting in August if public health officials deem it safe to gather. Registration for those times will open in May, with expanded availability to accommodate those waiting to take the test.

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College Board president Jeremy Singer told the Times that the at-home tests would feature a system that “locks down everything else in the computer” to ensure that it’s proctored and avoids cheating.

“The camera and microphone are on, you can detect any movement in the room. If the parents are in there, next to them, that would be detected,” explained Singer.

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