Juniors encounter uncertainty surrounding standardized testing

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Shayna Kotler

At home, Shayna Kotler is spending her Tuesday afternoon studying for the ACT.

Junior year is commonly thought to be the most challenging one. Between APs and extracurriculars, students have packed schedules. On top of that, juniors have to begin preparing and taking the ACT and SAT. This year, juniors are facing a new challenge: on top of the already challenging workload and demanding schedules, they have to worry about the uncertainty surrounding whether or not the ACT and SAT will be given.

Montgomery County schools were moved online in the middle of March The closure of schools was followed by the cancelation of the March 28 makeup exam for the SAT and ACT March dates. Since then, all test days have been canceled in Montgomery County.

COVID-19 has not just canceled the ACT and SAT but also has changed the way students prepare for them. In-person tutoring has been moved online via Zoom or other programs. It’s also impacted when students begin preparing for the test. “I would’ve begun preparing earlier if it was not for the virus, and now I am unsure if I will even get the opportunity to take the test,” junior Rebecca McMillen said.

McMillen began preparing the past month and is planning to take the ACT in February. She is not worried about the uncertainty surrounding the test because colleges and universities understand the unique circumstances.

For junior Asbah Qadri, the summer and spring testing dates’ cancelations have brought stress and worries about the future. Qadri is planning on taking the test in December. She wanted to take it earlier, but said she “was advised to push it back due to the pandemic.” She has a timeline regarding test days and college preparations. Cancelation of the December date would ruin it.

I would be less stressed if I did not have to take it, but some schools are requiring the ACT.”

— Shayna Kotler

Qadri’s feelings are shared with fellow junior Shayna Kotler. Kotler is not worrying too much because her February date has not been canceled yet. She has been preparing since mid-July. Kotler recognizes that her test center may close down, or she may have to take the test online. “I would be less stressed if I did not have to take it, but some schools are requiring the ACT,” Kotler said.

On the other hand, junior Adalyn Gully is not worried about whether the exam is given. She does not know when she will be taking the test yet. In case she is given the opportunity, Gully has taken online classes in preparation for the test.

Because of the pandemic, 55% of colleges and universities are not requiring ACT and SAT scores to be submitted for the class of 2021. However, it is unknown what their decisions will be in regards to the class of 2022.

The test’s cancelations have raised the question of whether or not the ACT and SAT should be required for college admissions. Kotler believes that the ACT and SAT do not give an authentic look into a student’s knowledge and capabilities. The ACT is supposed to test what students learn in school, while the SAT tests what students may not have learned.