By Leah Cerami
The graduating class of 2024 has been avoiding standardized tests since they stepped foot into the third grade. In 2015, New York State saw a surge in families choosing to opt out of standardized testing. While schools are required to administer state tests, there is no law mandating that students sit to take them. According to data collected by the New York State Education Department, about 20% of eligible students did not participate in testing in 2015, an increase from 2014.
Then, when COVID came along, the Regents exams offered to students were limited to Algebra 1, Earth Science, Living Environment, and English Language Arts, leaving the students with barely any exam experience. Even with the exams that were offered, the stakes were low because students had the option to omit them from their college transcripts, and the tests were optional. This school year, students are faced with more testing requirements than ever before. Whether it be the PSAT, the Regents, or one of the many AP exams, the current sophomore class is entering new territory. This raises the question, will the class of 2024 be prepared enough to take on all these exams?
The sophomore class is now busy preparing for tests that they have little experience with; as a result, they are left stressed and with many unanswered questions. The students do not know how to study for such long tests, nor do they have strategies that they could use for the multiple-choice sections, so they are left lost. Many students expressed how nervous they are about the exams, as one student stated, “I think I will be very overwhelmed and not do as well as I could do. I’m very nervous for the upcoming exams.” No one is alone in their anxiety; they all are coming from a place with little to no preparation for standardized tests.
Due to the circumstances created by the changes in New York State testing requirements, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in test cancellations, students are going into upcoming standardized tests with little to no experience. Only time will tell how these challenges will reflect on their test scores. As for right now, it is up to the student, teachers, and other support systems, to prepare the class of 2024 for the upcoming challenges ahead.
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