Schools Need to be Ready and Protected for Digital SAT

Individuals sitting in front of a monitor possibly SAT testing site.

The stress of taking the SAT used to fall squarely on the heads and psyche of high school juniors and seniors, with their parents or guardians manufacturing their own separate levels of stress and anxiety that typically got thrown right back on their children. Now that the SAT is going fully and only digital in the spring of 2024, those who must administer the SAT have their own force-multiplied stress and anxiety to ensure the test can be executed and completed in a timely, safe, and secure manner.

Although many colleges and universities have made SAT scores “optional” for admission for very good reasons, that doesn’t mean students will not be taking the test. Nor does it mean that they will choose not to submit their scores. Editor and writer Tyler Epps notes in the blog “Should You Send SAT/ACT Scores to Test-Optional Schools?” that high school students seeking admission to college should submit their scores in the following scenarios:

  • If the student’s SAT score is at or above the middle 50 percent range of the school
  • If SAT scores are required to receive merit-based aid
  • If the student is applying to a highly selective school and has an SAT score at or above the school’s middle 50 percent range
  • If the rest of the student’s application is perceived as potentially less impressive

This thinking has been supported by other college admissions professionals who also encourage applicants within the middle 50 percent range of scores to consider submitting their SAT scores if they would like the school to consider them.  So, whether students apply to test-optional schools or not, they must first know what their SAT score is before making any decision about improving the odds of admission, and that requires taking the test.

The SAT is administered in local school test centers all over the United States seven times a year. As you might imagine, no two schools are the same. Many, despite heavy investments in technology, still have connectivity, availability, security, and performance issues. Only a small percentage are likely prepared and ready to protect and ensure success for a 100 percent online digital SAT against all the threats coming their way.

Be Ready, Prepared, and Protected

Schools and testing centers need to ensure connectivity status, solve problems rapidly in real time, and protect themselves from all kinds of cyberattacks aimed at disrupting the testing. NETSCOUT helps IT professionals know what’s wrong—and why and where—in real time to ensure rapid problem resolution. With our Adaptive DDoS Protection solution, NETSCOUT can also defeat and mitigate distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, which otherwise could overwhelm a service or network with a flood of internet traffic to disrupt the SAT process. The combination of being ready to execute a successful SAT while being protected against disruptions gives students the opportunity to improve their chances of college admission with a properly executed online test.

Readiness consists of making sure high-quality connectivity exists in the test centers before the test date and during the actual testing period. To do that, those centers need to simulate test traffic and validate connectivity and performance instead of hoping for the best. Likewise, whether it is before the test date or during the test itself, SAT test centers must be able to rapidly solve problems. That requires the ability to pinpoint the root cause of a problem and fix it fast.

Being protected means you must protect testing sites from adaptive DDoS attacks leading up to the test as well as on testing days. You need to see and identify advanced threats and command and control traffic from test locations. And you need to provide security for the SAT testing period and ensure that attempts to interrupt the test itself are stopped in their tracks, immediately.

Get a Perfect Score as an SAT Test Center

NETSCOUT has the experience and technology platform to mitigate risk and make the digital SAT a success every time. School districts, colleges, universities, government entities, large enterprises, and communications service providers (CSPs) trust us to help them thrive in their digital transformations. Our Visibility Without Borders platform leverages scalable deep packet inspection (DPI) to provide availability, security, and performance within a single platform.

NETSCOUT solutions help educators reduce and mitigate the risk of poor connectivity, application unavailability, poor performance, DDoS attacks, and poor network performance that could inhibit successful execution of the SAT. And we can customize a solution to ensure it meets a school’s unique needs, is cost effective, enables rapid ROI, gives deployment options, and supports other educational applications.

If students taking the SAT are getting tutored, practicing, and preparing for success to reduce their stress and anxiety, then school districts with SAT test centers should also prepare and be protected with the technology they need to succeed. NETSCOUT can help—and it just might reduce stress and anxiety for schools too.

Learn more about our education solutions.