Standardized tests make major changes due to COVID-19

By Emily Ankers, Editor-in-Chief, and Daphne Riddle, Junior Editor-in-Chief

Due to the pandemic of COVID-19, people all across the country are being quarantined to their homes in hopes of stopping the spread of the growing pandemic. Schools are closed until further notice, and all non-essential businesses are temporarily shut down. 

This world-wide phenomenon is something new to everyone, and many find it difficult to navigate their way through these troubling times. People are using new ways to complete tasks that have been uncomplicated in the past, such as learning and testing. State-wide and national tests, however, have been altered from the standard means of testing. 

The government cancelled test dates for SATs and ACTs in March and May to avoid gathering large groups of students together. The early June date was cancelled as of April 15, so the next available test dates will be at later, currently unknown times. Additional dates in June and July, however, are planning on being added to ensure students have as many opportunities as possible to take the exams. 

Many students, especially the ones in the junior year, who are beginning to look for colleges to apply to next fall, are worried about the lack of test dates of these exams that most colleges require for acceptance. 

“Canceling SAT’s and ACT’s is certainly an inconvenience for students as they prepare for college,” said Mr. Shue, the principal at Red Lion Senior High. “Hopefully these tests will be available to students, in some form, as soon as possible.

Some colleges are looking into lowering requirements for the students affected by this pandemic, or even getting rid of some of the requirements. Schools could be looking into going test-optional for acceptance. Everything considered, the colleges and universities are trying to find the best means of adjusting to the current situation. 

The cancelation of the SAT testing dates is leading to a great likelihood that students belonging to the class of 2021 will not be required to provide scores to gain entrance into college. Currently, a handful of colleges have already waived the need for SAT scores and many more are considering it. The College Board is doing all they can to make the transition into college for the young adults as easy as possible given these unforeseen circumstances.

Other standardized tests were also changed including AP tests, Keystone exams and PSSAs. The state tests, Keystones and PSSAs, were cancelled all together for the spring of 2020. 

AP tests, however, were rescheduled and turned into an online test. All AP tests were pushed back about a week later, in May, and shortened to 45 minute open-note exams. 

“They are shortening the tests,” said Mrs. Scott, a guidance counselor at Red Lion Area Senior High, “based on the material that the majority of United States students would have gotten before we shut down.” 

Students and teachers must prepare for these changing tests, and try their best to make the most out of the new forms of taking these important tests.

Many changes and cancellations have been made to schools, as well as the public, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This graphic illustrates the changes made to standardized tests as a result of this time.

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