Limited options for SAT testing sites, what parents in San Diego are hoping for

Posted at 9:08 PM, Jun 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-14 00:08:39-04

Parents all across San Diego County are traveling dozens of miles just to have their child take an SAT exam.

Parents, Anthony and Jackie Flannery have been trying to help their daughter, who is a junior at Point Loma High School, take an SAT exam. They went on the College Board Website, picked a date, and chose a testing location, in January they chose a test date for March in Escondido.

“We showed up to the test site and there were crickets and a few people walking around," shares Anthony. "And [there was] very little notice that the test had actually been canceled.”

And that wasn't the only test that was canceled.

Through his daughter's portal, Anthony shows me the second canceled test date, "The June 4th date that was at Hilltop high school.”

In June, they were able to pick a different location, in Thermal, California which for the Flannery's was almost three hours away.

ABC10 News reached out to the 17 school districts in San Diego County that have high schools. Out of all the districts, there are only 18 sites available within a hundred-mile radius of Point Loma.

For an August 27 test date, only 7 options still had seating the week of June 6. The closest one was Fallbrook Union Highschool, which is 42 miles from Flannery's home.

“By not hosting the test close to where people live, by making it really difficult, by canceling on them, you are not only demoralizing the child prep for the task which it’s important to do well, you are also really limiting it to people who can’t do things like drive really far away," shares Anthony.

According to the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, as of May, close to 2,000 4 year colleges and universities, 132 of them located in California, did not require SAT/ACT scores for their incoming fall 2022 students.

According to the same website, 84 campuses adopted the same 'No Score' requirement, for those applying in 2022 and beyond. That includes California State Universities and The University of San Diego.

All UC schools also are no longer requiring SAT/ACT scores.

“When they say test-optional, yes it’s optional," says Jackie, "but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t influence.”

Most of the districts in the county that were previously testing sites, said they did not request to become one again because 66% of American colleges and universities, including many in California, are not making students test.

However, for kids like Flannery's daughter, her dream school, MIT, does require it.

This family hopes the county hears their plea and does not limit opportunities to test for those who want to.

“It’s important that we make it accessible for everyone," says Anthony, "And that we encourage children who might want to take it, the option, without having to jump through these hoops.”

ABC10 News did reach out to the College Board for information on why certain areas are testing sites and not others. We also reached out to the Department of Education for their thoughts on the limited options. We are still waiting to hear back.