By Mariya Kooran
Change has become a common theme throughout the last two years in students’ high school careers in classrooms and learning curriculums, interfering with testing routines and protocols. Last year, students were met with a series of drastic changes, such as the six-foot social distancing rule, mask mandate, and hybrid learning. Standardized tests were administered digitally and shortened, while some were even cancelled.
This year, the SAT will continue to be given while enforcing mask mandates and social distancing rules. There will be fewer seats at testing centers and locations might even change for some students due to these unprecedented circumstances.
Source by Anna Detke
Many students have grown even more anxious and frustrated for this year's exams as a result of unavailable test centers, modified curriculums, and exam structures.
Unlike last year’s modified exams, the AP tests for 2021 will be full length and most tests are administered for a duration of three hours. During the first window in which the test is administered, all exams will be taken traditionally in school using pen and paper. During Administration 2, half of the students will be taking it traditionally while the other half will take it digitally, with the option of being at home or in person. In Administration 3, all students will be taking the test digitally, either at home or in person. The Sewanhaka District has decided hybrid students are required to take AP exams in school during Administration 1, while fully remote students have the option to take digital versions in the comfort of their own homes during Administration 3. Although digital testing at home may seem advantageous to many students, it should be noted that the option to go back and forth between questions is not available and the format for exams will be different.
These changes have sparked anxiety and confusion amongst some students because it is unlike any other form of testing throughout the past years, while other students have learned to quickly adapt due to last year’s experience.
“As these students gain experience with standardized testing in the midst of a pandemic, many have tailored their routines to make a better environment for learning...”
“Taking AP exams will be a new experience and having taken practice tests only online, it will be totally unexpected. This is definitely uncharted territory,” said senior Julia Ajith.
Some students feel that a change in traditional teaching should exempt them from traditional testing. Additionally, the unorthodox circumstances mean that students have to understand concepts without being able to do labs or demonstrations.
As these students gain experience with standardized testing in the midst of a pandemic, many have tailored their routines to make a better environment for learning.
“I have taken my SAT twice with all the COVID-19 precautions and I personally don’t think it affected my test-taking experience in a detrimental way. Although it can be frustrating, I think it’s really important to understand that these precautions are necessary and that accommodations can be made in order to ensure that every student is able to have the best experience possible,” said junior Laaibah Shoaib.
It is evident that even in the midst of a pandemic, NHP students still find a way to prioritize their education and prepare for challenging standardized tests and AP exams.