testing requirements for admissions to independent high schools

October 12, 2020, by

Applying to an Independent School in Fall 2020?

COVID -19 has ushered in many changes this year to testing requirements for admissions to independent high schools in the Washington, DC area.  Many schools have opted to go “test optional,” meaning that students may choose to submit standardized test scores but are not required to do so.  Other schools, citing equity concerns, have chosen to go “test blind,” stating that they will not look at standardized test scores even if they are submitted by an applicant. Still others are offering their own in-house tests in lieu of requiring SSAT or ISEE scores.

In an effort to provide students with more test taking options, both the SSAT Board and the Educational Records Bureau (maker of the ISEE) are offering online at-home tests this fall. The ISEE is also being offered in an online format at Prometric Testing centers as well as on paper at a few schools in Maryland. The SSAT is not being administered at testing centers this fall. If students wish to take the paper version of the SSAT, they must schedule a flex test with an independent testing consultant.

Should my Child Prepare for the ISEE/SSAT this Year?

To determine if your child should prepare for the SSAT or ISEE, first, check the school list below to see if the schools to which your child is applying require standardized test scores. If they do, then obviously your child should take the test. If the school is test optional, consider whether a standardized test score would be an asset to your child’s application. If you are unsure how your child will perform on a test, consider doing a free online proctored practice test through Marks Education. A professional tutor can talk you through the results and help you determine the type of improvement your child could make with some preparation.

What about Parochial Schools?

 While some parochial schools will continue to require the SSAT this fall, most Catholic schools that are part of the Archdiocese of Washington will be requiring the HSPT as usual this year.  The HSPT will be offered on Dec. 5 and Dec 12 at numerous high schools in the area.


Independent High Schools in the Washington, DC area 2020 Testing Requirements by School:

Bullis School

Bullis School

Test Requirements: Test Optional

“Bullis will not require testing this year. Applicants have the option to submit the SSAT, ISEE, or Character Skills Snapshot, if you wish to do so. Upper School applicants who have completed the PSAT, SAT, or ACT also have the option to submit these results if you choose to do so.”


Edmund Burke School

Edmund Burke School

Test Requirements: Test Optional/In House Test

“In typical years, all applicants are required to take an entrance exam: either the ISEE or SSAT. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Burke has eliminated the standardized testing requirement for applicants applying for Fall 2021.

In lieu of a standardized test, applicants for the 2021-22 school year will complete an in-house assessment. Students who have SSAT or ISEE scores on record that they believe reflect their ability are welcome to submit those as well.”


Episcopal High School

Episcopal High School

Test Requirements: Test Optional

“Episcopal High School understands that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact students across the United States and world. For some students, access to standardized testing for the 2020-2021 application season will be a significant challenge. Therefore, we have made the decision to allow students to apply to Episcopal during the 2020-2021 admission cycle without needing to submit standardized test scores. If you do not submit test scores, we will instead require an additional recommendation from a current teacher of your choosing. Those who do not submit test scores will not be at a disadvantage in the selection process, as we will continue to evaluate each application using a holistic approach that considers students’ achievements and successes in relation to their individual opportunities and challenges.

We will continue to accept the SSAT, ISEE, PSAT, SAT, and ACT for students who wish to submit scores to be included as an additional item in their file. Please don’t hesitate to contact the Admission Office with any questions.”


Field School

Field School

Test Requirements: Test Optional

“Field does not require any standardized testing for admission, but families may submit tests such as the SSAT or ISEE through those testing organizations as a supporting document in the application process.”


Georgetown Day School

Georgetown Day School

Test Requirements: Test Blind

“Due to COVID -19, we will not be accepting testing for admissions this year.”


Georgetown Preparatory School

Georgetown Preparatory School

Test Requirements: SSAT required

“The Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT) remains required for admission to Georgetown Prep.”


Holton Arms School

Holton Arms School

Test Requirements: In-House Testing

“Due to COVID-19, SSAT and ISEE will not be required this admissions season. Applicants will take an online in-house test. This test will be administered virtually by Holton. After your family completes the first steps of the application, the Admissions Office will email you the available dates and instructions to register for the virtual test.”


Landon School

Landon School

Test Requirements: Test Optional

“Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the ISEE and SSAT may not be accessible to all families.  For the 2020-21 admissions year, Landon will accept the SSAT or the ISEE, or, when it’s easier for the family, require the applicant to sit for Landon’s 30-minute virtual reading assessment and submit a writing sample in lieu of the ISEE or SSAT. An application must be received in order to be scheduled for this reading assessment.” 


Maret School

Maret School

Test Requirements: Test Blind

“Due to COVID-19 restrictions, testing cannot be conducted in an equitable manner and will not be required this admission season.”


Potomac School

Potomac School

Test Requirements: In-House Testing

“Due to COVID-19, standardized testing will not be required this admission season. We will use an in-house assessment that will be administered throughout December and January.  Once you complete the application, please schedule your assessment visit via Ravenna.”


Sidwell Friends School

Sidwell Friends School

Test Requirements: SSAT/ISEE not required.

“We are not accepting SSAT or ISEE testing this year. If your child took a standardized test at his or her school during the 2019-2020 school year (such as ERBs, MAP, SOL, Stanford, IOWA, CTPs, PAARC) please make sure that Sidwell Friends receives the test results as part of their school transcripts by January 15.”


St. Albans School

St. Albans School

Test Requirements: Testing not required.


St. Andrews School

St. Andrews School

Test Requirements: Test Optional

“In light of the challenges presented by Covid-19, St. Andrew’s will no longer require admission testing.”


Stoneridge School of the Sacred Heart

Stoneridge School of the Sacred Heart

Test Requirements: Test Optional

“After careful consideration of this year’s admissions process and the compounded national events affecting our communities, Stone Ridge will not require the SSAT for Upper School applicants for the 2021-22 school year.”



If you have questions about the independent school application process or whether our academic tutoring services might be right for you, please reach out to schedule a free consultation.

 

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