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SAT Above-Grade-Level Testing

Assessment for Acceleration and Long-Term Planning

Grades 6 - 9

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Students Under Age 13: Online, Remote Administration

Students Age 13 and Up: In-Person test sites for SAT are available in the U.S. and select locations worldwide. See Find a Test Center for details.

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Test dates occur throughout the year. See the Registration Process, Dates, and Fees section below.

FEES:

Online, Remote Administration with CTD Assessment Resources: $50
In-Person (Age 13 and Up): See Registration Process, Dates, and Fees section below.

Why Take The SAT Above-Grade-Level

CTD's above-grade-level assessment program, part of an approach known as academic Talent Search, helps parents, educators, and students better understand academic strengths and educational needs using assessments designed for older students. These assessments, including the SAT®, provide young students access to challenging content and use college and career readiness as learning benchmarks. Fifty years of research and experience demonstrate that when these tests are given to younger students, they provide valuable insight into academic ability and potential.

What are the benefits?

  • Identify exceptional academic ability and areas of strength
  • Monitor growth over time and benchmark with high-achieving students in the same grade
  • Understand academic readiness for enrichment and acceleration
  • Understand programming and placement needs
  • Connect students to programs and opportunities designed to meet their needs
  • Set a course for a lifelong journey of achievement and fulfillment

Notes about testing and the ongoing pandemic

Please note that the pandemic may continue to impact in-person testing opportunities, which means test date and site availability is not guaranteed. The College Board is responsible for establishing and maintaining national test sites, while local hosts make decisions about health and safety protocols or cancellations.

College Board continues to update its website with short- and long-term protocols and testing cancellations. If your child is scheduled for an upcoming test date, be sure to check with the testing agency and testing site for any updates or cancellations or with questions about testing location protocols for health and safety. Last minute changes and cancellations are possible, so be sure you are familiar with test registration change and refund policies. Learn More.

Reasons to Take the SAT Through CTD

Almost 50 years of research and practice demonstrate that participation in an above-grade-level assessment program such as CTD's benefits advanced, or gifted, students in a number of ways. Students who have participated are more likely to continue their high achievement into high school, college, and beyond. They take more accelerated and advanced courses, earn more awards and honors, and have higher educational aspirations than other students.

CTD's proprietary interpretive materials give participants, their families, and educators a clearer understanding of academic strengths, including how students are performing compared to other gifted learners taking the same assessment, information about what content students are ready to learn, and recommendations regarding accelerated and enrichment programs.

In addition, practice and early exposure to above-grade-level testing builds confidence when testing for high school and college readiness or college admission (SAT and ACT). Students become more willing to take on challenges and they start to think more about what they can achieve not only in school but also in life.

Resources and Tools Provided by CTD

MyCTD Toolbox is a secure, password-protected website where families and educators can access the wealth of resources CTD provides as a result of above-grade-level assessment:

    • Test preparation materials
    • Test score report with an explanation of sub-test and composite scores and what they indicate about learning readiness
    • Recommendations for academic programming in math, science, social science and the humanities based on students' scores
    • Annual Statistical Summary of PSAT 8/9, SAT and ACT score distributions and percentile ranks by grade based on all scores received by CTD above-grade-level test participants in the previous two years; this allows educators and parents to determine how their students' scores compare to those of other high-achieving students at their grade level
    • Instructional and professional development resources for educators
    • Articles on parenting gifted students for families
About the SAT | Which Option is Right for You

SAT, authored by the College Board, is typically used for college admissions and as a state-level high school proficiency measure. Though designed for students in grades 11 and 12, talent search organizations like CTD administer the SAT to advanced students in grades 6 through 9 to get a more accurate picture of their abilities and readiness for accelerative programs. The SAT includes a Reading Test, a Writing and Language Test, and a Math Test. The test takes 4½–5 hours to complete.

Which version of the test is right for you?

Students Under Age 13 and Students In Need of A Remote Testing Option: CTD offers students the option to take an Official SAT Practice test powered by Khan Academy but assigned and proctored by CTD. This assessment administration has required conditions that must be followed to use the score for Talent Search purposes (i.e., qualifying for advanced courses/accelerated programs). This assessment can provide similar academic insights and context as an official national test-date SAT administration. There is no charge for the test through Khan; however, CTD charges an administration and resources fee for participants. Resources provided by CTD include a personalized score report with custom norms (comparing performance to other high-achieving students in the same grade who took the SAT), growth indicators, and program and placement guidance. This is an alternative option to the Official SAT for students under 13, students 13 or over who do not live in close proximity to an SAT in-person site, or students who prefer an online experience. This test may not be suitable for admission to selective enrollment programs that require an official SAT.

Students Age 13 through Grade 9: After turning 13 and through the grade 9 school year, students have the option to take the SAT through the College Board’s National Saturday Testing program at a local test site. Registration for the SAT above-grade-level is a two-step process: Step 1: Students register with CTD for above-grade/advanced learner resources such as a personalized score report with custom norms (comparing performance to other high-achieving students in the same grade who took the SAT), growth indicators, and program and placement guidance. Step 2: Students register directly with the College Board to take the test and to send scores to CTD. For more information about taking the SAT in-person through the National Testing Program, please see SAT Terms and Conditions.

CTD Talent Development Consulting Bundle Option

During the registration process, you have the option to select SAT Resources with a Consulting Session (not available with SAT-Khan option). With this bundled purchase, you receive test resources and an hour of talent development consulting with CTD staff at a discounted rate. Use the consulting time to understand your student's scores and discuss approaches to enrichment and acceleration.

Our Center for Talent Development staff is comprised of experienced educators, leaders, advocates, and program developers whose mission is to help young people find their strengths and interests and create their unique talent development path. Consulting with CTD can help you achieve a variety of goals, including understanding your child’s abilities, planning for talent development, and getting the most out of educational opportunities.

Please note: CTD staff are not counselors and do not provide psychological or mental health services. Consultations with CTD staff members address academic programming and talent development best practices.

Eligibility

Criteria for Participation

Students who are most likely to benefit from above-grade-level testing on the SAT are those in grades 6 through 9 who meet at least one of the criteria listed below.

Past Participant:

Students who qualified for and participated in a talent search (above-grade-level testing) in a previous year qualify to participate this year and are encouraged to take the same test to measure academic growth and/or experience a different test for practice (see suggestions by grade level below).

Participation in a school gifted program or advanced academic services:

Students in grades 6 through 9 who receive gifted or advanced academic services (advanced or accelerated courses) at school are encouraged to register.

Recommendation by a parent or teacher:

To be recommended, students should

  • demonstrate advanced aptitude in verbal or mathematical reasoning,
  • consistently demonstrate a high level of performance on academically demanding course work,
  • often request more challenging learning experiences,
  • be comfortable with the idea of taking a test designed for older students (willingness to take on the challenge).

Meet grade-level assessment criteria in either verbal/reading or math on a nationally normed or state achievement test:

Nationally Normed Tests

The percentiles of verbal, math or composite scores or subscores from a nationally normed, standardized grade-level achievement, aptitude, or abilities test can qualify a student. Scores from tests taken in previous years may be used to qualify. Examples of nationally normed tests that may be used to determine eligibility for above-grade-level testing include but are not limited to:

  • Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT)
  • ERB Tests: Comprehensive Testing Program (CTP), Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE)
  • NWEA Measures of Academic Progress (MAP), MAP for Primary Grades
  • STAR 360
  • I-Ready
  • Stanford Achievement Test
  • Terra Nova
  • Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS)

Depending on the test, the naming of scores or subscores may vary:

  • Verbal scores may be called Total Reading, Verbal, Reading Composite or Verbal Ability.
  • The Verbal subscore may be called Vocabulary, Comprehension, Reading Comprehension or Reading.
  • Math scores may be called Total Math, Quantitative, Math Composite, Quantitative Ability or Math Composite.
  • The Math subscore may be called Math Concepts & Applications, Problem Solving/Reasoning or Problem Solving.
  • The Composite score may be called Total Battery, Composite, Total Aptitude, Core Total, Complete Battery or Total Score. 
State Achievement Tests

Students may also qualify for SAT testing if they score in the top category or highest level (exceeds, beyond, mastered) in at least one category or subcategory of verbal/reading, math or composite on a state achievement test. For specific criteria and descriptions of your state exam, please visit your State Department of Education Website or consult with your school system. Scores from tests taken in previous years may be used to qualify.

Test Score Recommendations
Grade 6
First-Time Testers
If grade-level test
results* were:
=90th-94th percentile
Should take: PSAT 8/9, CogAT Level 7
If grade-level test
results* were:
≥95th percentile
May take: SAT and/or ACT
Subsequent Testers
Considerations: PSAT 8/9 scores in grade 5 were below 540 in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) AND below 490 in Math AND below 970 in Total
Should take: PSAT 8/9, CogAT Level 7
Considerations: PSAT 8/9 scores in grade 5 were 540 or above in EBRW OR 490 or above in Math OR 970 or above in Total
Should take: SAT and/or ACT, CogAT Level 7
*verbal/reading, mathematics or composite

 

Grade 7
First-Time Testers
If grade-level test
results* were:
≥90th percentile
Should take: SAT and/or ACT, CogAT Level 8
Subsequent Testers
Considerations: Take both/either test(s) or the test not taken in grade 6
Should take: SAT and/or ACT, CogAT Level 8
*verbal/reading, mathematics or composite

 

Grade 8
First-Time Testers
If grade-level test
results* were:
≥90th percentile
Should take: SAT and/or ACT, CogAT Level 9
Subsequent Testers
Considerations: Take both tests or the test not taken in grade 7
Should take: SAT and/or ACT, CogAT Level 9
*verbal/reading, mathematics or composite

 

Grade 9
First-Time Testers
If grade-level test
results* were:
≥90th percentile
Should take: SAT and/or ACT, CogAT Level 10
Subsequent Testers
Considerations: Last opportunity to take both tests as part of Talent Search
Should take: SAT and/or ACT, CogAT Level 10
*verbal/reading, mathematics or composite

 

If you think your student may be an exception to the guidelines provided above, please do not hesitate to e-mail us at ctd-assessment@northwestern.edu or call us at 847/491-3782.

Recommendations for Retesting

Above-grade-level testing can be used to track students' academic growth over time. If a student plans to retest, please follow these best practices and guidelines:

  • Test once per year and preferably during the same period of time each year (spring to spring, fall to fall, etc.).
  • It is possible to test in the early fall and again in the late spring or early summer (or two times per year), but test administrations should be far enough apart for instruction and exposure to programming to have had an impact.
  • Retest using the same test or an aligned test. For example, the PSAT 8/9 is aligned with the SAT, so a student testing in grade 5 on the PSAT 8/9 and in grade 6 on the SAT will be able to track growth across the two assessments. If the student then wants to track growth in grade 7, 8, and 9, we recommend continuing to take the SAT.  
  • Prepare for taking the assessment, but CTD does not encourage or endorse taking test prep courses for above-grade-level testing, which may result in recommendations that are not representative of students' instructional readiness levels. 
Registration Process, Dates, and Fees

Registration Process

To register for either version of the SAT and for CTD assessment resources, you will need to create a new account in MyCTD, which is CTD's online application system, or login to your existing account. After you create a student profile or select a currently existing student profile, click "Register for Testing".

Test Dates

Online SAT practice test administrations through Khan Academy are are scheduled year-round. When you select the SAT online assessment during registration, you will see the proctored test dates available. Once you select your test date and pay the CTD resources fee, a confirmation email with detailed next steps will be sent to you.

Test dates, registration deadlines, and fees for the in-person SAT administered on national test dates are shown in the table below.

 
Test Date October 1, 2022
Registration Deadline September 2, 2022
   
Test Date November 5, 2022
Registration Deadline October 5, 2022
   
Test Date December 3, 2022
Registration Deadline November 3, 2022
   
Test Date March 11, 2023
Registration Deadline February 11, 2023
   
Test Date May 6, 2023
Registration Deadline April 7, 2023
   
Test Date June 3, 2023
Registration Deadline May 4, 2023

Important Information about National, In-Person SAT Test Date Registration

Students who are taking the SAT through College Board on a national test date are registering directly with the testing agency. Questions and requests about the test registration must be directed to the College Board. Students who are unable to test on their scheduled in-person test date may be able to reschedule for a later test date by calling the College Board directly. The testing agency will assess a change-of-date fee. CTD does not manage the test registrations and is unable to assist with admission tickets, accommodations, rescheduling, or refund requests.

  • SAT Contact Number – 866/756-7346

Fees

CTD Assessment Resources with Proctored Official SAT Practice through Khan Academy: $50

CTD Assessment Resources and Official SAT Testing on National Test Date:

  • Option 1: $50 for SAT resources + $60 for the SAT test, which will be paid directly to College Board.
  • Option 2: $25 for SAT resources for students who have already registered for SAT or ACT testing in 2022-2023 or who tested in 2021-2022 + $60 for the SAT test, which will be paid directly to College Board. 
  • Option 3: $200 ($175 for repeat testers) for SAT resources, CTD Backpack online community access, and one hour of CTD Family Consulting time (a savings of $50) + $60 for the SAT test, which will be paid directly to College Board.

Registration for the In-Person SAT test on a national test date requires a two part registration process. Part 1: Register and pay for CTD Assessment Resources through MyCTD. Part 2: Once registration for CTD Assessment Resources has been received, a confirmation email will be sent with directions for registering with College Board for your SAT test.

Withdrawals and Refunds

CTD SAT and ACT Assessment Resources fees are not refundable and may not be transferred to a future academic year.

Official SAT Practice test powered by Khan Academy
Once you are confirmed for an Official Practice test date proctored by CTD, if you need to change your registration, you will need to call 847/467-1575 or e-mail ctd-assessment@northwestern.edu. Cancelling or rescheduling an appointment may incur a $25 processing fee. No shows or cancellations within 72 hours will not be eligible for a refund.

If CTD needs to change or cancel a test date or time (weather, site emergency, etc.), you will be contacted as soon as possible via phone or e-mail. A CTD staff member will work with you to reschedule the test. If a test cannot be rescheduled, a refund will be provided.

Refunds may take up to eight weeks to process.

National Test Dates for College Board SAT or for ACT
Since you will submitting your test registration directly to College Board or ACT for your preferred date and location, please review the College Board and ACT withdrawal and refund policies in the application. CTD does not manage the SAT or ACT test registration process nor any of the withdrawal or refund policies.

Financial Aid for CTD Assessment Resources

Financial aid is not currently available for CTD SAT Assessment Resources, but please e-mail our office at ctd-admissions@northwestern.edu to discuss payment options.

A limited number of fee waivers is available from the College Board for students who qualify for federally subsidized programs. Registrants may request financial aid during the test registration process with SAT. Applicants who indicate they are applying for financial aid will be asked to provide documentation of need.

Accommodations

Accommodations may be made for students with a disability that requires special testing tools or an exception to standard testing procedures. Testing agencies determine allowable accommodations and/or whether the allowable accommodation(s) can be provided.

SAT - National Test Day Registrations (13 years and older)

College Board's process for receiving accommodations can be found here: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/register/special-circumstances/students-with-disabilities.

You will work with your school counselor or case manager OR directly with the test agency to submit the accommodations request. Note these deadlines for applying for accommodations are earlier than the test registration deadlines, so please ensure you note that during your registration process.

Official SAT Practice - Online

Contact CTD if you have questions about accommodations for the online administration: ctd-assessment@northwestern.edu.

Additional Considerations | Adding Essay, Grade 9, Non-Saturday Testing

SAT Essay Writing Subtests

SAT through College Board offers an optional Essay section that may be added during the College Board registration process. An additional fee is charged for the Essay, and it adds about 50 minutes to the testing time. The Official SAT Practice does not include an essay option.

Grade 9 Registration

When registering directly with SAT, grade 9 students should choose the “high school not listed” option if they do not want scores sent to their current high school.  They also should enter “Northwestern University’s Midwest Academic Talent Search” (code 1500) as an organization to which they want an additional score report sent. This will ensure that CTD receives the scores in a timely manner and that parents have access to the customized percentiles and academic planning resources available in MyCTD Toolbox. 

Non-Saturday Test Dates

Non-Saturday test dates are available for students whose religious observance prohibits Saturday testing. A letter from clergy requesting this option must be sent to College Board such that it is received the registration deadline for the chosen test date.

Sunday test dates immediately follow each Saturday test date, unless there is a conflict with a religious holiday.

What to Expect from Start to Finish

Start of Testing Year (August/September)

Registration begins and continues through June.

After Registration is Complete

Families are able to access the many valuable CTD Assessment resources available in the online MyCTD Toolbox.

In The Weeks Preceding Test Day

Log in to the online MyCTD Toolbox, click on the Testing Info tab and scroll down through the various sections to find out what you need to know about the testing process. Be sure to

  • Review the CTD Assessment Student Guide.
  • Review practice quesstions.
  • Print out and complete the Student ID Form (SAT In-person only); students in grade 9 taking SAT must have a photo ID.

Students should not take a commercial test preparation course.  But, they should understand the format of the test, be familiar with the types of questions, and be aware of the time limits for each portion of the exam.

Frequently Asked Questions About Test Day

Will my child be overwhelmed?

Your child probably finds grade-level achievement tests relatively easy or at least not too stress inducing. An above-grade-level assessment may be the most difficult test your child has ever taken. They won't know all the answers. That's okay. The tests are designed to assess knowledge and skills generally learned at higher grade levels. They're supposed to be harder, and your child is not expected to know everything on them. Discuss this with your child in advance, so he or she can take the test with realistic expectations and simply do his or her best, and may have to guess on some of the questions.

Will my child be nervous about the testing environment?

For in-person SAT testing at national test sites, the testing room serves younger students taking the test above-grade-level along with older students testing for college admissions. While some younger students may be concerned about testing with high schoolers, most do just fine. Test administrators are trained to ensure a quiet, respectful test environment where all students can do their best work. Talk with your student about what to expect.

At Least One Week Before Test Day

Students taking the SAT at national test sites receive an admission ticket directly from the testing agency, which contains information on when and where to go and what to bring on test day. If the student has not received the admission ticket a week prior to test date, call the testing agency to ask for the student's registration number and the test center assignment.  Please note that CTD staff do not have access to admission tickets and cannot request one on your behalf.

  • SAT – 866/756-7346

Students taking the Official SAT Practice test online will receive all directions for logging in in their confirmation email. If the student has not received the confirmation a week prior to test date, call or email CTD Assessment to request the information and confirm registration. Families should test out all equipment and check links prior to test day. 

Test day

Students testing on the SAT in-person should arrive early at the test center with their admission ticket and other items by 7:45 or 8:00 a.m., depending on the test. The admission ticket will state what time to arrive and what to bring. Students should also bring required identification (see third bullet above under “In the weeks preceding test day” above). It is important to note that late students will not be allowed to enter the test center. There are no exceptions, so please plan accordingly based on the weather and traffic in your area.

Students testing online should be set up and have all equipment and links ready at least 15 minutes prior to the scheduled test time.

Several Weeks After Testing

Students receive an e-mail from CTD notifying them that their test scores, percentiles and interpretive information are available to them in their password-protected, online MyCTD Toolbox account. If a district/school name or CTD Assessment ID number was provided in the registration process, scores, percentiles and interpretive information are also available to that district/school.

What happens to my student's scores?

Once the testing agency provides CTD with the scores and they are uploaded into our system, you will be able to access your child's scores, along with interpretive materials, in the online MyCTD Toolbox. We will send you an e-mail when the scores are ready for viewing. Your child's district/school will also have access to scores if you identify the district/school when registering. Together, you and your child's teacher can discuss the scores, what they mean, and which resources and programs would be best suited to help your child reach full potential.

Information to know about test score retention and reporting:

  • College Board annually purges the SAT scores of participants in grades 6 through 8 who register for the test. If you wish to retain scores, you must send them a written request to do so prior to August 31 of the academic year in which your child tests. If preserved, scores are available for future use, but only if and when your child instructs College Board to do so. Students in grade 9 are covered by normal SAT score-retention and reporting policies available on the College Board website.

For additional information about testing agency score-reporting policies, please refer to the website: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/scores/sending-scores/score-choice

Some parents are concerned that there are a limited number of times their child can take the SAT. There is no limit to the number of times a student may test through a talent search organization such as CTD.

CTD tests thousands of students every year and has for almost 40 years. It is a research-validated approach to identifying students’ academic needs and potential, with the added benefits of providing practice on the SAT, demonstrating a trajectory of growth, and taking on academic challenges. If you have questions about scores and reporting, we encourage you to reach out to the College Board. Also, we encourage you to communicate with admissions officials at colleges or universities of interest to learn exactly how they make use of test score information.

What Happened to NUMATS?

What was called Northwestern University's Midwest Academic Talent Search (NUMATS) is now part of our expanded CTD Assessment services! Our commitment to families and schools is to provide the best programs and services possible to help our students understanding their abilities and to guide their talent development decisions. Based on our research and years of experience, and with a nudge from the pandemic, we created a robust suite of assessments and talent development resources for students age 4 through grade 9, their parents, and educators. Because NUMATS no longer describes all we offer, the decision was to retire the NUMATS name while ensuring all of the benefits, resources, and best-practices that families are familiar with and have grown to rely on stay in place. 

Find Test Center

Visit the College Board SAT Test Centers page to search for test sites across the U.S. select locations worldwide by city, state, test, and date.

"Your program opened doors for tremendous advancement in my schooling, and I’m so thankful for you."

- Former CTD Assessment Participant

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