Standardized Unrest

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Cale Patten

Mrs. Lampus, English teacher and instructor for the SAT English prep course.

Cale Patten, Staff Writer

The pandemic persists as test season approaches.

With standardized tests right around the corner, many students like myself have been thrust into the panic of cramming information into our small monkey brains. Unfortunately a new challenge has arisen to take time away from supersaturating my prefrontal cortex; COVID-19 and the pandemic brought with it don’t seem keen on leaving anytime soon. The ensuing domino effect has affected our way of life so much it rivals two topping carry out deals of a similar namesake. 

Among these changes are the precautions imposed in schools, workplaces, and any other public area on the spectrum. Albeit ensuring a safer future for those at risk, these guidelines have undoubtedly affected the futures of the students across the board. From simple changes such as wearing masks in school to missing out on in-class learning for weeks at a time, students are having mixed feelings about the upcoming exams. Ultimately, 2021’s standard tests may not be so standard.

“I have made a lot more assignments online. I like to use classroom discussions, but this has become difficult, so instead students complete assignments [online] since we never know who will be in class that day”.”

— Mrs Lampus

English teacher Mrs. Lampus describes teaching this year as “very different”. Following the pattern, the procedure for taking the tests last year was very different as well. The English AP test, normally consisting of a multiple choice section and three essay responses, was changed to only one essay response without the other two essays or the multiple choice section. All of the testing was done online in addition to these major changes in structure. Despite the changes, senior Gabe Webb states his results were “as expected”.

Teachers claim they feel the students are relatively prepared, given the circumstances. The teaching environment has been described as “challenging” since students are introduced to new material but miss out on some crucial time for practicing these skills.

Students feel they are missing out as well, with many juniors claiming the pandemic has poorly impacted their preparations for the tests. In a survey of 1-5, with 5 being very prepared, only 20% of students answered with a 4; the other 80% answered 3 or lower.

Seniors who took the tests last year felt nearly identical, with 100% of students surveyed answered 3 or lower on the same question. In hindsight, many of the seniors believed they would have felt more confident if the process was less chaotic; there were periods of time where students were not sure if they would even be able to take the tests.

Testing will most likely return to a fairly more traditional setting this year. Drastic changes were brought about for the  2020 tests due little being known about COVID-19. Despite the winter spike in cases, the numbers appear to be in a steady decline, making in-person testing very likely.

If you are feeling unprepared for the upcoming tests, common suggestions from students were to study in groups (with the proper safety precautions taken, of course) and attending Knoch High School’s free SAT prep class, which offers aid in both math and English.