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Mayor Gray Announces Free SAT® Exams to Be Offered to District’s Public School Students

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Mayor Gray Announces Free SAT® Exams to Be Offered to District’s Public School Students

All District high schools will become test centers for the college-entrance exam

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) announced today that the SAT® will be available at no cost to the more than 7,000 juniors and seniors in all of DC Public Schools (DCPS) and the District’s public charter schools, starting with the class of 2014. The exam (formerly known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test and the Scholastic Assessment Test), historically taken at test centers on Saturdays, will be offered on-site and during the school day at each of the District’s 34 high schools. This will ensure that no student is denied the opportunity to apply for a post-secondary education because they did not have access to a college-entrance exam.

“I’m so pleased that we are able to make this crucial college-entrance exam more accessible to all of our students, making it easier for them to gain admission to institutions of higher education across the country,” Mayor Gray said. “This is part of my commitment to ensure that every student in every part of the District of Columbia has access to a first-rate public education.”

The normal registration fee for the exam, which is published and developed by the College Board, is currently $51. This program means the exams will be available free of charge at District schools.

“Offering free college-entrance exams to District students is a great opportunity to make college-readiness more achievable,” said Interim State Superintendent of Education Emily Durso. “We are very excited that our high school juniors and seniors can now take the SAT, with fewer roadblocks keeping them from their pursuit of success in college and life.”

Created by educators and reflective of the significant body of research underpinning college-readiness standards — including the Common Core and other rigorous state standards – the SAT tests students’ knowledge in reading, writing and math and how well students are able to apply that knowledge. The test will be funded by OSSE and administered in partnership with local education agencies and the College Board as a part of their SAT School Day initiative. It becomes the only state-sponsored test administered to District students after the 10th grade, and will rely heavily on school counselors’ support to ensure students are taking advantage of the more convenient exam option.

“The SAT is the gateway to college for many students, but too often the cost is a tremendous barrier. Making the SAT more accessible is great news for our students and their future success,” said DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson. “Providing the SAT at no charge to our students, in addition to the variety of college counseling programs and expanded Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and dual-enrollment courses at DCPS, will make a huge difference in preparing our students for college. I’m excited about this opportunity for our students and grateful to the OSSE and the College Board for helping to make it happen.”

The SAT School Day initiative offers students in participating states and districts the opportunity to take the exam in a well-known environment, receive full access for one year to the Official SAT Online Course™, the Official SAT Practice Test, and free SAT practice tools.

“This is an exciting development that will support our thousands of students across 19 charter high schools in their college pursuits,” said Scott Pearson, Executive Director of the DC Public Charter School Board.

The District’s juniors and seniors can register for the SAT online with vouchers obtained from registration coordinators at their school. Registration begins September 4, 2013. The SAT exam date for seniors is October 16, 2013 and February 26, 2014 for juniors.

Students also have the option to take other college-entrance exams. ACT vouchers are available from OSSE for eligible low-income students, but other exams must be paid for at their own expense.

The District joins 12 other states that also fund a college-entrance exam along with the requirement that students take either exam.