Equity and Access

University of Virginia Study Shows Universal SAT Testing Would Greatly Expand College Pipeline

A new study from the University of Virginia shows the impact of school day testing on college access.

A new study from the University of Virginia shows the impact of school day testing on college access. As reported in The Washington Post:

“If every public high school in Virginia offered college admissions tests free, the supply of graduating seniors who could compete for entry to major universities in the state would grow significantly, according to a study released Tuesday.

The pool of prospects for the highly selective University of Virginia and College of William & Mary would expand nearly 20 percent, the study from U-Va. researchers found, and as much as 40 percent for broader-access public universities. The boost would be especially notable, the study found, for students from poor families who might otherwise not think about signing up to take the SAT or ACT.”

In the 2018-19 school year, 15 states, Washington, D.C., and more than 250 school districts offered the SAT to students during the school day—up from three states that administered SAT School Day in 2014-15. In 2018-19, more than 1 million students took the SAT at no cost during the school day, compared to 218,000 in 2014.

High schools across Virginia that have implemented SAT School Day have found encouraging results:

“Students are fully supported with SAT School Day—testing takes place in a familiar classroom, it’s a comfortable environment, transportation is already scheduled, and there are no conflicts with work schedules or extracurricular activities. Since we began offering the program, we have noticed that more historically underrepresented groups are not taking the test and doing well. Our participation for students of color, first generation, economically disadvantaged, and male students is significantly higher with SAT School Day. Weekday testing also allows the teachers and counselors to be more involved by helping students prep for the SAT. Overall we have had a very positive experience with SAT School Day.” – Heidi R. Vande Hoef, Beacon of Hope Future Center Director, E.C. Glass High School, Lynchburg, VA

“The SAT School Day program has been beneficial to helping students at Southampton High School pave the way for college. In the two years that we have been offering weekday testing, we have seen students benefit from the program no matter what path they are choosing for the future. Students that were not planning to attend college are rethinking that decision based on their test scores as well as students that have always planned to go to college are using the weekday test as practice. We have also noticed students are who indifferent about college now have the SAT score in case they decide to go to college. With SAT School Day, taking the SAT is no longer a barrier.” – Natasha Preau, School Test Coordinator, Southampton High School, Courtland, VA