For Laura Overdeck, a CTY parent of three children and past advisory council chair who is also married to a CTY alumnus, funding online testing was imperative.
“Whether it’s a new vaccine, a green source of energy, or a better cell tower, our most talented inventors improve our quality of life every day,” she says. “It’s critical that programs like CTY find our most talented kids and give them the intellectual challenges that will motivate them to become tomorrow’s trailblazers. Testing is the tool that unearths that talent, often in the most unexpected places, and it benefits us all.”
Once the project was funded, a cross CTY team worked quickly to get it up and running. The team spent hundreds of hours developing the online testing and worked with departments from across CTY, including IT, communications, and disability support services.
“We had to come up with a solution pretty quickly,” says Frank Williams, a psychometrician and CTY’s associate director of testing and assessment. “That was an all-hands-on-deck approach. It was a huge, huge effort.”
CTY’s efforts have produced tremendous results, with more than 10,000 students taking the online tests since May 2020. Online program participation doubled in just 60 days.
“I think, for our families, they appreciate the convenience. We were sending our students to adult testing centers. It’s not the most optimal testing experience for our kids,” Williams says.
In addition to being more geographically accessible, making SCAT available online helps students with disabilities and gives all students the freedom to choose when they take the test.
“It worked out for a lot of students with disabilities, with anxiety,” says Luke Kasim, CTY’s director of recruitment. “It gave us the ability to be able to ease a lot of the anxiety for our students.”
CTY now offers 180 courses to more than 21,000 students and their families across the globe.
“This really did open a lot of doors of access to families,” Arena says. “It ended up being a transformative opportunity. The amount of collaboration, coming together, the fact that this all came together in such a short amount of time was a remarkable, remarkable feat and a real shining moment in what was otherwise a dark time. This is our mission. This is why we’re here.”