Remove tests, see what happens

Number+two+pencils+only%21+One+of+the+rules+for+taking+SAT%27s+and+ACTs+is+only+writing+with+a+number+two+pencil.+

Jocelyn Fetter

Number two pencils only! One of the rules for taking SAT's and ACTs is only writing with a number two pencil.

Jocelyn Fetter, Reporter

Unless you live off the grid on the island of misfit toys where Wi-Fi and internet are unknown, I’m sure it has come to your attention that we have a pandemic going on. This pandemic has caused miraculous things to happen including shutting down entire states and ordering them into lock down, schools have been closed for the remainder of the year, businesses have shut down and some are even uncaple of reopening, but among the midst of things we all never saw coming is the reality that more colleges are rethinking the use of tests such as SATs and ACTs. 

For students like myself who have always found it hard to deal with major tests, this news has added a little extra pep in my step. 

Although as of right now the test requirements are suspended for seniors entering college in the fall of 2020, there’s a very large piece of me hoping these colleges will follow when I attend in fall of 2021. 

It is very possible that I’m looking in all the wrong places, but who honestly likes taking tests? And no, I’m not talking about the kind of test that surveys what ice cream flavor you would be, although in case anyone is wondering I think I would be a very cool combination from Ben and Jerry’s

As a sophomore I was given the opportunity of taking a PSAT during school hours that allowed me and other students like myself to test the SAT waters and get a feel of what we had in store our junior year, and I’m going to be completely honest, that was awful. I remember coming home to my mom that night and crying to her telling her I was never going to make it in the real world because that test made me feel so inferior.

For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, picture this: you’re in the schools’ conference room/large group room or whatever you want to call it (obviously this is pre-Corona where you were allowed to be within six feet of each other) and it’s like way too early o’clock on the dot. The kid to your left is picking his nose, and the kid to your right has had his head down since the moment you entered the room. The teachers are trying to gather everyone in the room and take attendance, so you can begin before lunch starts. You desperately look around to find some of your friends and surprising enough, they look as enthusiastic as you do. Finally, after what seems like an hour you’re starting your test.

I honestly can’t even remember what the sections were but I do remember that I had to read like four or five passages for one of them, and I literally fell asleep during the test. Now I know what you’re thinking and let me stop you, no, I am not the type of student who falls asleep in all of my classes, I am always engaged and interested but this was just not the vibe. Anyway, I awake to the teacher announcing that the section will be over in about thirty minutes, so I end up speeding my way through it and barely making it with time to spare. The next however many sections drag on for what feels like forever as I force myself to stay awake, and I find myself checking the clock after every problem which just takes time away from me actually doing my test. At one point I was literally praying that I would have a bunch of math sections (and trust me I’m not that great at math I’ve always been an English person) just so I would be able to stay awake by doing the problems. After about what feels like ten hours go by, and we’re finally done. 

I feel like I got really off topic…so let me try and stray back to the basic point of what now is a rant…these tests are honestly awful. I speak for Pennsylvania teenagers and students when I say this next phrase: the state has been testing us since we were children. We weren’t even old enough to use a microwave by ourselves yet. We have been tested since the day we were put into school with Dibbles (this is what they were called when I was younger), the PSSA’s (which mind you I took until eighth grade), Keystones (again I took eighth, ninth and tenth grade), benchmarks, midterms, finals and now you also make us take SATs and ACTs…guys, we are burnt out. We’re kids, not lab rats. I understand at a certain point tests are a good thing, and they’re necessary for us to make sure we’re retaining knowledge, but I think retaining things that actually matter and jamming random facts about things we will never use in the real world are two different things. Things would be so much easier if people sat back and asked themselves how students would benefit. Some children need a conversation. Some children need a pencil and paper to write their thoughts out, some kids can’t sit down for fifty minutes and fill in a Scantron and that’s just being truthful. 

Stepping down from tests as a requirement to enter college is a step in the oh so right direction, and I’m so excited and hopeful to see how education may change. With simple conversations with students and teachers, parents and loved ones, you can quickly find out that our times are evolving and some of us just need a change, and thankfully we’re starting off great, even if it took a pandemic to kick-start the change. We can all only hope that this sticks around, and we only go up from here.