Testing Crisis

Elizabeth Poarch, Editor-in-Chief

MATTHEWS, NC- In the current age of a global pandemic, uncertainty seems to be the only constant. Health concerns, social distancing laws, and state mandates make it difficult to maintain a routine. Adjusting to the new normal has welcomed dozens of unforeseen challenges.

For students, the anxiety of standardized testing is added to the daily influx of change. Amidst the COVID crisis, organizations, namely the ACT and College Board, find it difficult to regulate student safety while balancing the importance of independent testing.

The chaos of cancellations, rescheduling, and potential new test dates have made it nearly impossible to make definitive future plans. Testing at public schools is prohibited for both the SAT and the ACT since school isn’t currently in session on campus, so scheduling is difficult due to a limited number of available private schools. The College Board has canceled virtually every test since the spring but has updated students on new dates as the possibility arises.

According to the official SAT Coronavirus Updates webpage, “There is limited testing capacity in certain areas due to public health restrictions and high demand. While College Board can’t directly control test center capacity and availability, we’re working to ensure as many students as possible are able to test safely. Test centers make individual decisions about whether to administer the SAT, and they may close before the administration, right up until test day. We are asking test centers to report closures to College Board as soon as possible in order to help ensure students are informed and to reduce stress and uncertainty ahead of test day.”

The ACT, however, has canceled some test dates and are only allowing a randomized, small number of students to enter a testing site. With social distance laws in place, a limited number of students are allowed to complete the exam. 

Some colleges have shifted to test-optional, seeing that not all students will have an equal opportunity to take standardized testing. However, some universities have offered to host the ACT or SAT on campus for prospective students only applicable to their school.

CCS College Counselor Mrs. Berry said, “I don’t believe that this will affect most students; colleges understand that students are having great difficulty taking the test. Plus, most colleges are moving towards test-optional anyway. So, less weight will be placed on these tests. However, I think this will primarily affect students applying for scholarships.”

The future for 2020 high school students is a guarantee of stress, rescheduling, and unknowns, but Carmel Christian’s student body has a chance to take the SAT on campus, relieving some of the seniors’ anxiety.