Long Island students struggle to find SAT testing sites

SEAFORD, Long Island (WABC) -- Fourteen high schools across Long Island which were supposed to serve as testing sites for the SAT's on Saturday are now no longer offering the exams.

St. Dominic High School senior Matthew Blanchard, of North Bellmore, was supposed to take the exam on Saturday at Seaford High School, which is one of the closed sites.

Matthew has registered to take the SAT five times - in March, May, June, August and September. It has been cancelled every time with little to no explanation.

"We just want to move forward and we can't seem to do that right now," his mother Jeanne Blanchard said.

The superintendent of the Seaford School District said on Wednesday school officials decided not to offer the exam due to health concerns for its students.

"In order to ensure a safe environment for our students and staff to take and administer the SAT's, the district is offering the exam to any Seaford Junior or Senior interested on October 14th during the school day," Superintendent Adele Pecora said.

Matthew needs the score to apply for an ROTC college scholarship.

"He's been prepping since December of 2019, thinking that he was going to take the March exam before everything with COVID took place," Jeanne Blanchard said. "I've kind of been making him follow through with it thinking the next test is going to come, the next test is going to come and they don't."

The College Board, the group which sponsors the SAT's, said the decision to offer the exam is left up to each individual school and the school is able to close the testing site right up until the day of the test.

"While College Board can't directly control test center capacity and availability, we're working to ensure as many students as possible are able to test safely," the College Board said on its website.

College Board said across the country 183,000 September-registered students and 154,000 October-registered students are unable to take the test as of September 21.

The high schools which were supposed to serve as testing sites on Saturday, September 26, and are now closed are: Amityville High School, Centereach High School, Connetquot High School, Deer Park High School, Elmont High School, H. Frank Carey High School, Kellenberg Memorial High School, New Hyde Park High School, Plainedge High School, Roslyn High School, Ross School, Seaford High School, Southampton High School and Walt Whitman High School.

"Sponsoring the SAT with students mixing beyond their cohorts with students from other schools would complicate the cohort arrangement we have created," a spokesperson for Kellenberg Memorial High School said in a statement to Eyewitness News.

Like Seaford, Kellenberg is arranging with the College Board to offer the SAT's during the week to only its students.

Although most colleges are not requiring SAT scores for admission this year, the scores are mandatory for many college scholarships.

Jo-Ann Annunziato with Long Island Tutoring Service in Massapequa said some of her students have rescheduled their testing dates so many times, they are ready to give up on taking the exam.

"Some testing centers are canceling and others are not," she said. "So if you were lucky enough to sign up for one that's not cancelling, then you get to take the test. But we've had students who have been signed up for different centers and have been cancelled every time," she said.

Annunziato said she has been working with some students since last winter prepping for the exam.

"We're offering free SAT classes just for students who have always prepped for the exam because they have all worked so hard and they're ready and they want to take it," she said.

Officials with Connetquot High School said they are trying to have the school reinstated as a testing site, but said in a message to parents on Tuesday that New York State representatives of the College Board have not confirmed their intention on allowing the high school to be a center for the October 3 test date.

"The District is working diligently to ensure all students are given opportunities for both a make-up for the September 26 date as well as the October 3 date for the SAT exams," the message read.

Annunziato said students shouldn't dismiss the SAT's no matter the level of frustration because colleges and universities will still consider the scores as part of a student's application. She said the applications are "test optional" not "test blind."

Find out more about the statuses of SAT testing sites.

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