COVID-19 effects on standardized testing


Photo provided by Althea Floge

Althea Floge, Staff Writer

There have been many cancellations due to COVID-19 but one of the most stressful for juniors and seniors is the cancellation of SATs and ACTs. Many students planned to take the SAT/ACT in the fall, after they were cancelled this spring. With no return to school, students’ plans to take these tests have been changed and there is a lot of confusion about how and when students will be able to take these tests.

 “As for standardized testing in the high school, the school board stated that students will return for in person testing in January but there haven’t been any specifics released yet,” career counselor Elizabeth Tuttle said. 

While the Winston-Salem Forsyth County (WSFCS) School Board is working hard to start testing again, there has been very little communication between the school board.

 “COVID has cancelled a lot of in person practice tests and things like that,” junior Leah Stitzel said. “I also think we’re getting way less info from the school about how/when to take it, info that people in past years would normally get, which makes it really difficult to figure out how to plan for it.”

When school went online last spring there was no plan in place for the SAT to be online and many juniors who had planned to take it were out of luck. The confusion and limited opportunities for taking these tests prompted many colleges, including University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, waived SAT and ACT scores for fall 2021 applications. 

“I was supposed to take it in April but obviously it was delayed,” senior Logan Brown said. “The test was pushed back to June then again to July and after it being delayed again I decided to not take it. At this point, my colleges went test optional so I felt no need to waste money and time on the test.”

Although it is helpful that many colleges waved the test scores, many people put a lot of hard work and time into preparing and now those efforts will go to waste.

 “I was pretty happy I didn’t have to take it at first but looking back on how much time I spent studying for it I wished I did just to know how I would have done on the test,” Brown said.

While juniors last year were unable to take the test, juniors this year will have that opportunity. Standardized testing is expected to start up again this fall and many colleges will likely begin requiring test scores for applications again.

“Current juniors may want to consider taking an upcoming SAT November 7th or December 5th,” Assistant Principal Karen Morris said. “Unless the North Carolina legislature makes changes in the testing requirements, we will continue to have state tests.”

While the school board and state are figuring out how to safely administer ACT and SAT, it is safe to say that juniors should expect to take these tests and should continue preparing for them as usual.