The SSAT at Home Is Coming in May — View the FAQs

We know that at-home testing will have a positive impact on the ways we serve our 1,300+ members and the 70,000+ families and students who take the SSAT annually — especially those who are challenged by the current limitations due to COVID-19.

For students, the SSAT at Home will have the same content, length, and quality of our traditional SSAT. Families can rest easier knowing their educational ambitions for their children won’t be undone, and that this new mode of testing will help both admission officers and EMA manage health and safety concerns of prospective students in the face of this worldwide battle against COVID-19.

For our members, the SSAT at Home will provide score reports with the same quality, integrity, and validity as our paper-based tests. EMA’s approach will leverage the power of artificial intelligence, data forensics, and remote proctoring to ensure that you can rely on SSAT scores, regardless of the mode in which they are taken.

Below are FAQs about the SSAT at Home:

What is the SSAT at Home?
The SSAT at Home is the same standardized test as the SSAT but is delivered digitally via a secure web application to test takers from the convenience of their homes using remote proctors, artificial intelligence, and data forensics.

Why is EMA offering the SSAT at Home?
At EMA, we are committed to supporting our members and families by offering innovative products and services, as well as supporting them with flexible, convenient, and safe, digital test options. The SSAT at Home allows families a solution to test during the COVID-19 pandemic or any other world health situation that would prevent them from testing in a test center.

How is the SSAT at Home different from the paper-based SSAT?
The SSAT at Home is the same as the SSAT paper-based test but is delivered digitally via a secure web application to test takers from the convenience of their homes using remote proctors, artificial intelligence, and data forensics.

How will the SSAT at Home scores be reported and how soon after testing?
SSAT at Home scores will be sent to both families and schools and posted in the same manner as the paper-based SSAT. Typically, scores will be released to schools (those indicated during the registration process) three business days after testing and released to families the following day.

Is this a permanent test option or will it have a limited timeframe?
The SSAT at Home will have limited test administrations available in spring and summer 2020 in order to help families still looking to apply to independent schools. It will become a permanent test option starting in fall 2020.

Is there any difference in scoring between the SSAT at Home and the paper-based SSAT?
No. This is still The SSAT. The scoring process, equating procedure, and score scale will be exactly the same.

What policies or safeguards will there be to ensure test integrity and security?
The SSAT will be conducted with live, remote proctors; artificial intelligence (AI); and data forensics, such as facial recognition technology and video recording. Proctors will check the student's identity and monitor activity for any suspicious behavior. The AI will flag any possibilities for cheating, including but not limited to opening additional browser windows and running other software.

What accommodations will there be for students with disabilities, including students who require support services?
EMA will support students requiring testing accommodations just as with the paper-based SSAT.

Is the SSAT at Home test offered on demand or is there set a schedule?
The SSAT at Home will be offered on specific test administration dates and times, which will be posted through the registration process.

Is the SSAT at Home only offered in English or is it also offered in another language?
Currently, the SSAT at Home is only offered in English.

What type of devices can be used for home testing? Can it be taken on a smartphone? Can it be taken on a Mac computer?
PCs or Macs (laptops or desktops) with broadband internet and webcam capabilities can be used for home testing. Cell phones and tablets are not supported.
 Options will be made available to students who do not have access to computers.

What makes the SSAT at Home test better than or different from other tests?
The SSAT at Home increases test availability and options to families.

What if students have technical issues during the testing?
Remote proctors will be available to assist students throughout testing. If any connection issues arise, the proctor will work with the student to get back online and continue the test. EMA will work with students if they experience a technology issue that prevents the completion of testing.

How do students sign up for the SSAT at Home?
Options to sign up for the SSAT at Home will be available through the registration process. When a parent or guardian signs into their account, they will be able to register for any available test seats.

How will EMA deliver the SSAT at Home test?
The SSAT at Home is the same standardized test as the SSAT but is delivered digitally via a secure web application to test takers from the convenience of their homes using remote proctors, artificial intelligence, and data forensics.

Is the test fee for the SSAT at Home different from the paper-based SSAT?
For students registered or registering for a test by July 31, 2020, the test fees will be the same as the paper-based SSAT and fee waivers can be used for the SSAT at Home. EMA remains committed to ensuring that our test fees are also accessible for the 2020-21 test season.

What about the Flex test? Is it still being offered?
At this time, we cannot confirm when SSAT Flex testing will resume. EMA has suspended SSAT Flex testing until at least May 31, 2020, following an original suspension until April 15, 2020. EMA continues to carefully monitor health advisories and state and local restrictions to determine when Flex testing can resume safely. We will be in touch with members and impacted families with updates as soon as possible.

Given the continued uncertainty, EMA has been working hard to offer a solution to help members and families that doesn't require in-person testing. That solution is the SSAT at Home. This ability to support future testing in expanded ways, such as expanded access in remote areas and in response to unexpected emergencies, is key. That is why we announced the SSAT at Home as a permanent solution.

What happens to existing test administrators and proctors? Can they become involved with the SSAT at Home and if so, how?
Currently, test administrators and proctors will not automatically become support staff for the SSAT at Home. As the role, responsibilities, and requirements of working on a remote, digital assessment are vastly different, we will need to focus on selecting support staff who have the needed skills. In addition to technical skills, familiarity with the SSAT and proctoring are certainly a plus for prospects. If you are interested in working as a remote proctor for the SSAT at Home, please complete the Proctor form to add your name to our list of proctors. 

How will EMA select who can take the limited administration in May?
We will start working with schools and families who previously had registered but were unable to test due to COVID-19 restrictions. Once we have supported those families, we will open seats to other students on a first come, first served basis.

How does someone become a proctor and what software or training do proctors need?
If you are interested in working as a remote proctor for the SSAT at Home, please complete the Proctor form to add your name to our list of proctors. 

How long is the SSAT at Home and how much time does it take to complete?
The SSAT at Home is the same form and length as the paper-based test, which is roughly three hours in length including break. Extra time will be required for check-in, however, the ungraded experimental section at the end of the test will be removed to save time.

Will testing at a test center end with the addition of the at-home version?
At this time, EMA is closely monitoring advice and guidelines from the CDC and local authorities and has not made any decisions regarding changes to future testing, aside from offering the SSAT at Home to support members and families with a solution that doesn't require in-person testing.

Will the SSAT at Home be available in all countries or in limited areas?
Given test security considerations, there may be restrictions related to the SSAT at Home.  We are working with our Country Master Distributors, who administer the SSAT in select countries, including China, to understand testing opportunities going forward.

How does the SSAT at Home affect consultants?
At this time, EMA cannot confirm when SSAT Flex testing will resume; however, we are continuing to carefully monitor health advisories and state and local restrictions. Until we determine, based on these guidelines, that Flex testing can resume safely, we encourage our consultant members to have their students take the SSAT at Home. 

Previous Article
A Message From Heather Hoerle: Announcing the SSAT At Home
A Message From Heather Hoerle: Announcing the SSAT At Home

We are excited to share that beginning in fall 2020, EMA will offer large-scale, at-home administration of ...

Next Article
What Is Our New Normal? COVID-19 as an Opportunity to Build Resilience
What Is Our New Normal? COVID-19 as an Opportunity to Build Resilience

It would go without saying that we are living through exceptional times, a kind of medieval experience in a...

COVID-19 Resources for Schools

Take Me There