NEW YORK (AP) _ High school students who take the SAT II subject tests, required for admission to dozens of highly competitive colleges, soon will no longer get to choose which scores those colleges see.
Probably starting next school year, colleges will get students' complete SAT II test history, although a date for implementing the new policy has not been set, said Gretchen Rigol, a vice president at the New York-based College Board. Students will still be able to withhold scores on subject tests taken before then.
The nonprofit College Board owns and administers all SAT tests.
The new policy was adopted in December by a 25-member committee of the College Board, whose members include more than 4,200 schools. But the committee's decision just came to light this week in discussions on an e-mail listserv for high school guidance counselors.
Until now, the College Board has allowed students to choose which subject test scores it sends out to schools where they apply. That means students have been able to retake a test and send only their best score.
A statement on the College Board Web site lists several reasons for eliminating score choice, including that it encourages ``gamesmanship'' and benefits students who can afford to retake the tests.
Each sitting for one or more SAT II exams costs $14 to register, plus $6 to $11 per test.
The SAT II tests, in subjects such as U.S. history and physics, were introduced in 1993 by the College Board to supplement its better-known and more widely taken SAT test of reasoning _ now called SAT I.
Only on the SAT II tests have students had the option of holding back scores.
Just 59 colleges require SAT II tests; 69 others recommend them. Typically these schools want the student to take three subject tests _ and a sizable number do.
Among last year's college-bound seniors, 252,504 took SAT II subject tests sometime during high school, the College Board says. Far more took the SAT I: 1.4 million.
The subject tests also drew public attention last year when Richard Atkinson, president of the University of California system, suggested his eight undergraduate campuses scrap the SAT I and require only SAT II tests, as better measures of learning. The UC schools currently require both.
Some educators are sorry to see the end of test-score choice.
Jennifer Dryfoos, a college counselor at the private Santa Fe Preparatory School in New Mexico, has encouraged youngsters to take the tests for practice.
``Right now, I recommend all the sophomores take the bio test, no matter how they do in the class. Just so they get used to the testing. Just so it's not so intimidating,'' Dryfoos said Thursday. She'll no longer do that.
But Pat Crawford applauds the change. One of four academic counselors at San Francisco's public Abraham Lincoln High School, she's got 600 students to shepherd.
Students often take the SAT II tests, fear they won't do well and check the box that says to withhold the score, Crawford said. Then they later forget to tell the College Board to release the score, so the schools where they are applying get no SAT II scores at all _ causing problems for the students.
``Some kids are just so afraid they're going to make a bad impression,'' Crawford said. Ending choice is ``in the best interest of students.''