In the four amazing months since the pandemic took hold, we’ve seen dramatic changes in our educational system on a daily basis. Earlier this week, most Metro Atlanta school districts changed their opening plans to reflect the spiking virus numbers. Fulton County Schools said its in-person classes will wait until the case numbers improve. Just yesterday, Gwinnett Public Schools stuck with their earlier offer to deliver in-person classes as well as online schooling, at the parents’ option. Interestingly and confusingly, Gwinnett County has the highest Covid-19 case counts in Georgia. All these new developments are coming just weeks before schools are scheduled to start. And parents are expected to respond immediately and make provisions for their family’s many needs. Easier said than done!
Online schooling didn’t go so well this spring, when teachers had to ‘wing it’ using systems that weren’t fully developed or tested. They could not teach online the quantity or quality of new material that they had planned to teach in the classroom. For most students, that meant summer slide began in March this year. Ultimately there will be unprecedented learning loss when schools open (virtually or in person) this fall. Add this problem to the already long list that teachers will face.
- Unlike springtime, teachers will have new students and connect with them on computer monitors and/or through face coverings.
- Because of the long break due to Covid and summer, students will need even more help to rebuild skills that should have been retained from previous classes.
- Once schools finally reopen their doors, teachers will have even more administrative duties due to new rules on distancing and disinfecting. They’ll have less time and energy to teach children.
- Teachers will be more worried about their own safety and the health of their families. Many are writing their wills this summer.
In summary, teachers will need more resources – including patience and stamina – to educate our children under these extreme conditions.
When school administrators say it’s unsafe to bring students into school buildings, it makes us wonder whether they’ll allow some of those same buildings to open as test centers for ACT-SAT testing on Saturday mornings this fall. This could be a huge problem, especially for rising seniors who may not have taken ACT-SAT tests yet.
Keep in mind the most recent SAT administration was in December. College Board cancelled in advance the March, May and June test dates due to Covid concerns. There will hopefully be SAT national test dates in August, September and October. ACT has taken a different approach. They cancelled in advance their April test, but somehow decided not to cancel the June and July testing. Instead they left the decision up to local officials – and almost all Metro Atlanta test centers decided to close for June and July, including some at the very last minute. This has been a nightmare scenario for students – and a black eye for ACT.
ACT recently added five new test dates (including two Sundays) in September and October to help provide enough capacity to satisfy the pent-up demand since the last ACT in February. The big question is whether there will be enough test centers open around Atlanta this fall. It all depends on the virus numbers.
ACT says they are working with an unnamed partner to deliver testing at home and possibly other independent locations. They are being very guarded with this information, but they say it could start in late fall or early winter. College Board had announced they were working on an at-home testing option for SAT – but they dropped that plan right after the at-home AP testing didn’t turn out as well as expected. The move to online ACT and SAT testing will be critical the longer this virus sticks around. If we continue to rely exclusively on high schools and colleges to serve as ACT-SAT test centers, we are likely to run out of capacity to administer college admissions tests to all students who want them.
Do We Still Need ACT-SAT Testing?
- Even though many colleges are now test-optional, many others still require test scores, including the more selective institutions.
- If students want to qualify for scholarship money, most scholarship providers still require test scores.
- If students are hoping to become varsity athletes, the NCAA still requires test scores.
Keep in mind that Test Optional does not mean Test Blind. Very few colleges totally disregard test scores. If your student has strong test scores, they can only make the application portfolio look stronger.
Count on Dogwood Tutoring to help your family manage our ever-changing educational world. We offer customized one-on-one tutoring to help your student become a more independent learner. Call 678-735-7555 for more information.