[Opinion] Students should not be forced to take the SAT this year

An+SAT+prep+book+is+resting+next+to+a+laptop+with+school+materials+open.+Photo+by+Ariella+Bishari

An SAT prep book is resting next to a laptop with school materials open. Photo by Ariella Bishari

Benjamin Tichauer

It’s been almost one full year since most students have stepped foot inside a classroom due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In March of 2020, education came to a screeching halt once social distancing guidelines were put into place. Finishing out the 2019-2020 school year with remote learning came with many issues as both students and teachers were unprepared for the new change.

Online learning improved in August for the new 2020-2021 school year. However, the current level of learning and education are not even close to the experience of being in person students had last year. With this being said, standardized testing should not go on this year. 

Even before the pandemic, people started to point out numerous flaws with tests such as the SAT and FSA. The SAT is a standardized test widely used for college admissions in the United States. The Florida Standards Assessments are exams that measure whether students in the state of Florida are making progress in terms of curriculum standards set by the state. One of the most common points stated was that students with more resources had an advantage over those who didn’t, further inequalities within these tests.

Students who have access to things like better schools, resources and tutors generally get better test results compared to those who don’t. Not only do they have those resources, but they have the money to take the test multiple times. According to CNBC, “A 2015 analysis from Inside Higher Ed found that in each of the three parts of the SAT (reading, writing and language and math), the lowest average scores were among students from families who make less than $20,000 in family income, while the highest averages were among students from families who make more than $200,000

The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified this disparity. This has been further highlighted by some states giving students the option to return to class, while others continue to be strictly online.  

It’s not fair to give some students an advantage over others simply because children don’t have a say in whether their states have reopened schools. Learning during the pandemic has been challenging for particular groups of students and not everyone is able to learn in this way.

From issues with technology to kids being distracted in their home environments, learning has been very difficult for a lot of students. Therefore, they shouldn’t be forced to take tests as if they were learning under normal circumstances.  

This year, College Board took a step in the right direction by removing portions of the SAT test such as subject tests and essays. While this is a positive step, we can go even further and remove them altogether for this school year and even beyond.  

Another reason we shouldn’t have to take these tests right now is because the pandemic has heightened mental health issues and stress levels. The pandemic has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience for everyone in the world. It has forced the whole world to come to a halt and adapt to a brand new lifestyle that no one was prepared for or used to. 

This year should not be treated as a normal year, and added pressures shouldn’t be placed on students. Therefore, students should not be expected to take standardized tests such as the SAT since all it will do is put more pressure on students who are already dealing with a worldwide pandemic and many other unknown factors.