US Colleges to Offer Entrance Exam Online

Category: Education/Family


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. transition / trænˈzɪʃ ən / (v) – to change from one stage, state, condition, etc. to another

    Some children struggle to transition from elementary school to junior high school.

  2. readiness / ˈrɛd i nɪs / (n) – the state of being ready for something

    Since the child still has difficulty speaking, his parents doubt his readiness for school.

  3. pilot / ˈpaɪ lət / (v) – to test something before releasing it to a wider audience

    The principal wanted to pilot the new subject in just a few classes first.

  4. grant / grænt / (v) – to give something to someone officially or formally

    Only a few visitors are granted permission to visit the palace.

  5. compulsory / kəmˈpʌl sə ri / (adj) – required and necessary

    Taking entrance exams is compulsory to get into many schools around the world.


Read the text below.

US colleges are considering offering the SAT online.

The SAT is a pencil-and-paper exam administered by the College Board, an educational organization that helps students transition to college. This test determines a high school student’s readiness for higher education. It is offered across the United States annually.

This year, the College Board had to cancel the SAT originally scheduled in May and June because of the coronavirus pandemic. As a result of the cancelation, the College Board will offer makeup exams in schools this fall, or if schools remain closed, the test will be offered online.

According to the College Board, the organization had already been developing its online SAT before the coronavirus pandemic and actually piloted it in some areas over the past year.

In the online setup, students will answer the exam on their computers at home. To avoid cheating, test takers will be required to turn on the cameras and microphones of their computers, granting permission to SAT personnel to monitor them during the examination. Taking a pre-test under the same conditions will also be compulsory for online test takers to prevent any technical errors.

Some people, however, questioned the College Board’s plan to digitize the SAT. One of the issues raised is the invasion of students’ privacy. According to critics, digital services that let test administrators watch students during online examinations can be used for unlawful surveillance.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you agree with the online implementation of the SAT? Why or why not?
• In your opinion, would it be better to completely cancel the SAT this year? Explain.

Discussion B

• In your opinion, are exams like the SAT the best way to determine a student’s readiness for higher education? Explain.
• What do you think makes a student ready for higher education (e.g. knowing the career path he/she wants to pursue)? Discuss.