Fewer students taking SAT and ACT, Valley districts say future of these tests is unclear

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Covid-19 is changing the expectations when it comes to college admissions. Many California schools are no longer looking at the SAT or ACT standardized test scores at least for now.

Amid distance learning, high schools were not offering the SAT or ACT exams. Now, both the UC and CAL state systems are not requiring these tests scores, which means the college application process looks a little different.

Buchanan senior Jessica Marie Montelongo never questioned if she was going to college but says taking the SAT was a different story.

"I kind of had thought about the SAT but at that time, they were saying we weren't going to need it, so I was like, I'm going to worry about now," said Montelongo.

Recently signed to Sacramento State, she successfully navigated the college apps process without taking the big tests.

"I never did the SAT or ACT," said Montelongo. "It was weird not doing it, but it was a major relief."

She's one of many students that passed on taking the tests.

"This year, we're allowing students the options of taking the test," said Kings Canyon Unified School District Senior Counselor Hector Chapa, "and ultimately the question leads to are we going to continue to offer this test if it's not a requirement?"

Kings Canyon Unified says on their last testing date, they had roughly 1/3 of the usual number of students sign up.

Clovis Unified is noting the same thing and tell us now the big focus is GPA.

"All their criteria for admissions is based on the classes they took and their GPA," explained Clovis Unified Guidance Learning Specialist Jeff Hodges.

"That needs to be stronger if we're not looking at test scores," said Chapa.

If colleges decide to bring these tests back again, Valley schools say it will be a very different story for students.

"If we go 2, 3, 4 years with no testing to get that back on track, would be a lot more difficult," said Chapa.

Districts say they're preparing their high schoolers for the possibility that these standard exams could be needed again in the future. The SAT and ACT are still accepted at some private schools in state and schools outside of California.
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