Coronavirus Coverage

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - JANUARY 28: South Korean teenagers sit in a classroom during their physical examination for conscription at the South Korean Military Manpower Administration on January 28, 2019 in Seoul, South Korea. According to the Military Manpower Administration, 320,000 young people join the Armed Forces every year once they have reached the conscription age of 19. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

Due to the coronavirus, the SATs and ACTs might look very different for high school students this year. The New York Times is reporting that the SAT and ACT will develop a digital version for students to take at home if the pandemic continues to force social distancing. “The switch would mark one of the most significant changes in the history of the admissions tests, which are normally taken with a sharpened No. 2 pencil and paper in a highly secure setting, under the watchful eye of proctors.”

David Coleman, the chief executive of College Board (which is the organization that oversees the SAT), told reporters that upcoming June testing dates would be canceled like spring dates already have. According to Fox News, Coleman said, “We would much prefer that schools reopen but we are ready to innovate and deliver in the unlikely case we need to.” College Board brings in over $1 billion a year in revenue from SATs. A representative for ACT says they are ready to move to digital, if necessary.

One fear over digital tests is that it could raise privacy issues and make cheating easier. The New York Times adds, “Low-income students already face disadvantages when it comes to testing, including a lack of access to private tutors, study guides and other means available to wealthy students trying to boost their scores. Making them take a high-stakes test at home could put them at a further disadvantage.” The Times added in a separate report that some colleges are waiving SAT and ACT requirements.