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Advanced Placement digital testing begins today; SAT could be next exam to go online

PEMBROKE PINES, FL - MARCH 06:  Suzane Nazir uses a Princeton Review SAT Preparation book to study for the test on March 6, 2014 in Pembroke Pines, Florida. Yesterday, the College Board announced the second redesign of the SAT this century, it is scheduled to take effect in early 2016.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
PEMBROKE PINES, FL - MARCH 06: Suzane Nazir uses a Princeton Review SAT Preparation book to study for the test on March 6, 2014 in Pembroke Pines, Florida. Yesterday, the College Board announced the second redesign of the SAT this century, it is scheduled to take effect in early 2016. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) (2014 Getty Images)

The coronavirus pandemic has created unique challenges for seniors looking to take AP exams to earn college credits.

As the COVID-19 crisis grew, College Board announced students would have to opportunity to take the Advanced Placement tests digitally starting May 11 through May 22.

According to the college board website, each exam will be given at a specific time and will be open book/open notes. Each student will be given 45 minutes to take the exam.

At least 3 million students will be taking their AP exams online, the College Board said.

The pandemic has forced the not-for-profit organization to make decisions regarding other exams like the SAT. If schools haven’t reopened by the fall, College Board said students will also be able to take the SAT from home.

"As with at-home AP Exams, the College Board would ensure that at-home SAT testing is simple; secure and fair; accessible to all; and valid for use in college admissions," the organization said in a statement.

The College Board said that while this would be the first time SATs would be taken by students from home, it would not be the first time the test is administered digitally, adding it had already been done in several states and districts over the past year.

"Like the paper test, a digital, remote version of the SAT would measure what students are learning in school and what they need to know to be successful in college," it said.

The digital, at-home test is one of three contingencies the College Board said it is planning to make tests available to students during the coronavirus pandemic.

If schools are open in the fall, the organization said it will offer in-school makeup exams for tests that were canceled this spring. If it is safe to do so, the nonprofit also said it would begin offering the SAT again every month starting in August and through the end of 2020.

The announcements come amidst a rapidly changing landscape in the college admissions process. Already, at least 51 colleges and universities have dropped the ACT/SAT requirements at least through the fall of 2021, the National Center for Fair and Open Testing reported.

Others have announced they're making those tests optional for an even longer period. Tufts University said it was going test-optional for three years. Tulane University, the University of Washington, Northeastern University and others have said they're making testing optional for fall 2021 or longer.

In its Wednesday announcement, the College Board said it "fully supports admissions officers at member colleges who have said the circumstances of the public health crisis will be taken into account when considering tests scores, grades, and extracurricular activities in the coming year."

College Board CEO David Coleman said that while all students would normally have the ability to take the SAT, the pandemic has had different effects on different households.

"The families hit hardest are most often those with the fewest resources," the College Board said, citing Coleman.

“Our commitment to students is to give them as many opportunities as we can to show their strengths to admissions officers, while relying on the guidance of public health officials,” Coleman said in a statement.


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