The SAT COVID Mishap

COVID-19 hasn’t only affected businesses and hospitals, it has impacted each and every high school in the country. COVID-19 has caused much chaos and caused almost every school in the country to shut down. Since the virus hit many don’t know the impact it will have on the SAT.

On March 12, all East Haven Public schools were shut down, and as of recent information from the governor, we will not return to in-person school this semester. The school-administered SAT test date was initially planned for March 25 but was obviously missed. No one is entirely sure when the next test will be, but there is a lot of speculation. CollegeBoard put out a statement saying, “If it’s safe from a public health standpoint, we’ll provide weekend SAT administrations every month through the end of the calendar year, beginning in August. This includes a new administration on September 26 and the previously scheduled tests on August 29, October 3, November 7, and December 5 […] Eligible students can register with a fee waiver.” This will allow students to study for the test and take it when they feel right.

On the other hand, The New York Times says, “The SAT and the ACT, standardized tests that serve as a gateway to college for millions of applicants each year, announced on Wednesday that they would develop digital versions for students to take at home in the fall if the coronavirus pandemic continues to require social distancing.” As of right now, it is unclear as to where the test will be taken. Scientists can only make predictions regarding the Coronavirus, making much of the information administered to the people inaccurate.

In prior years, students were able to take the SAT multiple times, but now students are worried. Ms. Gretchen Coup, a guidance counselor at EHHS, says, “There is no limit on how many times a student can take the SAT. Even with the COVID, counselors recommend that you take it at least twice.” She says three tries allows a student to reach their maximum potential and give them the best opportunity to prove themselves to colleges. With all of the dates being rearranged many are worried about the format and structure of the test. Ms. Coup also said that the SAT’s format will remain the same. Students will be able to study the same way because everything on the test will be the same.

Many colleges have also come out and announced that they will be altering their admission guidelines. Many students, including those in EHHS, are still unsure of what colleges will do but Cheryl Durwin, an educational reporter, from CTInsider, said, “Over the past several weeks, nearly 20 colleges and universities have adopted test-optional admission policies. Some institutions, such as Boston University and the University of California system, have done so for class of 2021 applicants [...] And in coming weeks, other schools are likely to become test-optional either temporarily or permanently.” This provides relief to the students because if they don’t find themselves able to takes the test, colleges will understand.

Every student around the globe is being affected, but at EHHS, Isabella Pilato, a student at EHHS, weighed in with her opinion regarding the SAT. “It’s important to take the SAT, but for juniors, I think it will be a little more difficult because we don’t have all of the tools and help to prepare for it.” She is concerned that she will not have the resources to effectively take the test. One way the College Board is ensuring that every student has a fair opportunity is strict security measures. The New York Times released an article saying, “The College Board’s president, Jeremy Singer, described plans for a remote proctoring system that ‘locks down everything else in the computer. The camera and microphone are on, you can detect any movement in the room. If the parents are in there, next to them, that would be detected.”’ While the security measures are strict they do come at a cost. The push back of having a live feed of every student’s computer has been massive. Valerie Strauss, from the Washington Post, said, “And there are real concerns about how invasive proctoring technology actually is, according to the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, a nonprofit known as FairTest aimed at ending the misuse of standardized tests.” Parents may not allow their children to be recorded while taking the SAT and because of this the College Board may have to come up with different options.

The virus has impacted everyone greatly. Many are struggling financially, teachers are trying to provide the best help they can to students virtually, and students are worried about the uncertainties of their high school standardized tests. One thing that is guaranteed is that there will be many changes in the future. All anyone can do is hang tight and wait to see what new information gets presented to the public.