SAT graduation requirement dropped for now

Erin Fagan, Staff Writer

  Taking the SAT will not be a graduation requirement for seniors this year. 

  “It was dropped as a requirement for 2021 graduates by the state due to many schools having remote learning since 3rd quarter of their junior year,” Jonathan Puklin, assistant principal and staff member in charge of the SAT said.  

  Once the state had announced the decision, the district worked to inform seniors of the change.  

  “We asked seniors to complete a survey indicating if they would still like to take the SAT. Of the 280+ students, only 87 families responded,” Puklin said. 

  The news that the SAT would no longer be required was upsetting for some senior students to hear so late in the year.  

  “I think that the decision of whether the SAT was going to be required should have been announced in the fall, especially because over a thousand colleges and universities in the U.S. had already announced that SAT score submissions were going to be optional for students applying for the 2021-2022 school year,” Dianna Ibarra, senior, said. 

  Other seniors felt that students should take into consideration how chaotic this past year has been.  

 “I think that it is neither fair or unfair because what’s going on in the world is beyond our control,” Sarah Mcgorvic, senior, said. “We have been hit hard with a lot of things this year, so I’m glad to see that schools agree that the SAT should be the least of our worries.” 

  Whether or not this change is fair, it does not seem to have had a large impact on students applying for college. Ibarra, Mcgorvic, and another senior, Ivana Trajceska, both said that none of the colleges they applied to required that SAT scores be submitted.  

   “The vast majority of schools have offered some contingencies about standardized testing for current seniors due to the pandemic,” Julie Bortoli, counselor, said. “Many schools have moved to test-optional admissions.  However, where it may come into play would be for merit scholarship requirements. Merit scholarships will most likely request standardized test scores to award or sustain them.” 

  With SAT’s not being required for many college applications this year, it raises the question of if the SAT should be dropped altogether, as it seems to have lost some of its importance due to the pandemic.  

  “I do not believe the test should be dropped as a requirement,” Puklin said. “We receive valuable data from the results that help us and the district make instructional decisions regarding our curriculum. When students take the PSAT as freshmen and sophomores, then take the SAT as a junior, we can track a student’s progress over those three years because the tests are interrelated.” 

   Bortoli echoed the importance of keeping the SAT in the future. 

  “If a student is college bound, I do recommend that they take the SAT or ACT,” Bortoli said. “Some schools, even Joliet Junior College, may use the scores for placement in freshman classes. I also believe that four-year college bound students should take the test at least twice. Statistics have proven a small increase with repeat testers as student’s have become familiar with the expectations of the test with experience.” 

  Senior students hold a different opinion concerning the need for the SAT.  

  “Tests such as the ACT or SAT serve only as stressors to students without achieving their goals of giving colleges an accurate representation of the skills and knowledge they can offer,” Ibarra said.  

  Trajceska, who opted to not take the SAT at all this year, also felt the SAT is not an accurate measure of students’ abilities, and should be dropped in the future.  

  “Standardized testing as a whole, even just for a subject class, is rooted in memory, retention, and application that some people are not innately good at,” Trajceska said. “There are people with mental handicaps or just handicaps in a learning environment. Their intellect comes out in different ways such as art, just not through knowledge or in a school environment.” 

  Regardless of students’ opinions it seems the dropping of the SAT requirement this year is only temporary, and that SAT testing will return for years to come. 

  “I believe that the SAT and ACT provide one measure of a student’s potential for success in college,” Bortoli said. “I have never believed that one test can define a student completely. I have had students with very high test scores and very low grade point averages as well as the opposite. The standardized test is one piece of the college admission pie, and I do believe in their merit for that reason.”