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Chicago will no longer require SAT for high school graduation in pandemic year

High school students wearing masks sit several feet apart at desks in a classroom,

Chicago is waiving the district’s SAT graduation requirement for current 12th graders, but will make the test available for students who need to send scores to colleges and universities.

Rich Legg / Getty Images

Chicago seniors will not have to take the SAT to graduate high school this school year, according to new guidance sent to parents on late Friday.

Chicago Public Schools is waiving the district’s SAT graduation requirement for current 12th graders. The district says that it will make the test available for those who have not tested yet, in case they need to send scores to colleges and universities. 

The district said last week that it would continue to require the SAT, even as the state board of education released seniors from the graduation requirement. District officials reversed course on Friday after parents raised concerns about testing students amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The state has stated current 12th graders do not need to take the SAT to graduate. The exam will be available to high school juniors on April 13 and April 27, with a scheduled make-up date on May 18. The state has waived the essay portion of the exam. High school sophomores and first-year students will no longer have to take the PSAT this year. 

How to assess academic achievement during the pandemic continues to be a perplexing question for educators. Earlier in the year, more than 600 Illinois superintendents signed a letter voicing concerns about administering tests during a pandemic and asking the federal government to broadly waive assessments this year. But the Biden administration said in late February that schools had to test students. The administration offered states the ability to shorten assessments, provide tests remotely or extend the time students can sit for the exam. 

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