DOE announces free SAT School Day for all city high school juniors

Photo via Flickr Commons/Alberto G.

Taking the SATs will soon get a little less stressful for students.

Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced Monday that starting in the 2016-2017 school year, New York City will offer the SAT exam free of charge to all high school juniors during a school day of their spring term.

This initiative hopes to remove an extra stress off students who would have to pay over $50 to register for the exam and take it on a Saturday in an unknown environment.

According to the Department of Education, this SAT School Day — which was announced to kick off College Application Week — is an important part of College Access for All, an initiative to guarantee fairness and excellence in college access and planning opportunities for all students.

“The opportunity to go to college should never be decided by students’ backgrounds or ZIP codes. The new SAT School Day and the expansion of College Application Week demonstrate our commitment to providing every student with the support and resources they need to pursue college,” Fariña said. “All across New York City, our schools must offer students the College Access for All opportunities that can help them make good decisions and reach their potential.”

The SAT School Day removes barriers for students such as individually registering for the test; requesting a fee waiver; traveling to an unfamiliar location; and having to take the test on a Saturday, when students may have other obligations.

Also, integrating the SAT as a school day activity also promotes a strong college-going culture, encouraging students to think about college planning and college admissions assessments throughout their high school years.

According to the DOE, studies have shown that SAT School Day widens opportunities for all students, particularly for Hispanic and African-American students.

“As city officials and educators, we must do all that we can to ensure that our public school students are prepared for higher education,” said Councilman Daniel Dromm, chair of the City Council’s Education Committee. “Thanks to these new reforms implemented by the NYC Department of Education in recognition of National College Application Week, students will no longer be forced to travel long distances to other schools or pay a fee in order to take the SAT, an exam that most colleges require for their application process.”

In order to ensure a “smooth transition” for schools to the new SAT School Day, the DOE has already piloted SAT administration during school for 6,000 students at 40 schools in the spring of this year. In the spring of 2016, about 15,000 students will participate in 92 schools.

Part of the transition includes incorporating the PSAT School Day — which has sophomores and juniors taking the exam in October — into the SAT School Day.

The DOE will also work to provide college access activities for high school freshmen and seniors — for example college trips or college transition workshops — during the SAT School Day while sophomores and juniors take the tests.

The agency is also expected to offer professional development around the SAT School Day to all high schools in the spring and will additionally communicate and provide support to parents in regards to the initiative.

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