By ALI AHMED ‘22, AVINASH ARAVIND ‘23, and JASON ZHENG ‘22
As the end of the year approaches, the often anxiety-ridden testing season begins at Edison High School. Like many other high schools across the nation, the students at EHS will take various standardized exams, including but not limited to the Advanced Placement (AP) suite of examinations and the SAT examinations. The widespread COVID-19 pandemic forced national organizations, local districts, Edison teachers, and individual students to adapt to the new circumstances.
The College Board, the organization administering the AP and SAT exams, took steps towards making exams more accessible to students. The College Board created three different administrations, with two administrations offering online-based examinations allowing students to take the exam from home. However, the controversial online system prevents students from returning to multiple choice questions after they have answered them, and the inability to write mathematics-based exams on paper led to outrage among students nationwide.
Furthermore, the College Board made changes to the SAT examination to accommodate students. The sudden elimination of SAT Subject Tests and the SAT Essay from the standard SAT exam caused confusion among students. In addition, the College Board decided to maintain in-person administrations for the SAT. This lack of options with the SAT and the unavailability for exam administrations prevented some students from taking the exam and achieving their desired scores. Although some colleges have waived the testing requirements for the SAT to alleviate demand, students still struggle to find spots to take their exams.
In order to gain insight into the challenges of this upcoming testing season, the Eagle’s Eye talked with an AP History teacher Dr. Eugene Nasser.
“There’s no strict replication from the paper version to the online version… those two things [going back] hurts you,” said Nasser, in regard to the recent changes in the AP exam. He said that the standard exam-room environment creates the necessary atmosphere to test students’ skills in application.
Nasser believed that the College Board should do more to help students, especially during these changing times. “You need to take these exams just to even be considered… in that regard they’re catering to the colleges… they need a baseline to serve as a selection tool… but they need to do more to serve students,” said Nasser. “I think they’re already overtested… but when things return back to normal, you’ll be more resilient.”
EHS students also expressed their opinions on the changes to this year’s exam season. “I do not think the recent changes will display their consequences until later; however, the students would remain anxious for a longer period of time” said Saketh Sitaram ‘21.
Others believed the changes would not have as much of an effect on students as perceived. “Some might believe it [the changes] helps them, others might believe it will not help them,” said Devam Mondal ‘24.
However, students also cited concerns about the inability to take exams in person. “I believe that the district could have handled the exam administration in a better way,” said Sitaram. Additionally, some expressed concern with the College Board and standardized testing as a whole. “Either way, the College Board takes our money,” said Mondal.
As EHS continues to move towards the testing season and the end of the pandemic, students continue to be aware of potential changes to tests and the effects on their high school and beyond. Many students feel uncertain about the future of their testing as new information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic emerges. EHS students, teachers, and staff, as well as schools across the country, continue to adapt to the modified testing season.