Testing has Tested My Patience

BY: CLAIRE KIM

Yesterday, registration for the new fall 2020 ACT testing dates was an absolute disaster. Lack of test center options, straining the competition of the hundreds of thousands of students attempting to register, to system glitches, canceling people’s registration progress, and/or not allowing anyone to enter the site at all, the whole website was dysfunctional, to say the least. In the end, I left this 3-hour experience with no registered test date, no chance to view the sites or centers available, and a “sorry, our site is under maintenance” message with a broken clipart pencil in the middle of the portal screen. How rewarding…

From attempting to register for the SAT to SAT Subject Tests to AP Exams and now the ACT, I’ve learned that this whole process is just mentally draining and ultimately unfair to all students who want testing opportunities. The amount of times I have exited a college board or ACT tab with my hands up, surrendering because none of my transactions processed is actually saddening. I can only imagine how many students, especially incoming seniors right now, are frustrated.

What makes this thought worse is that I know I live in a privileged area where rapid access to social media or website notifications allows me to receive real-time updates when situations arise, and yet, I’m still struggling. What about those students who live in rural areas, who aren’t given the luxury of such speedy wifi or technological devices? What are they supposed to? How are they supposed to compete with those students who have privilege, admittedly, like myself, and get their names on the roster?

All of this just doesn’t seem equitable enough. And the sadder reality is that this “equitable” answer that we’re looking for can’t be accomplished with the given circumstances we are living in right now.

It really is screwed up.

Honestly, the ONLY way this whole testing process can become less stressful, less demanding of students is for this year’s admissions cycle to acknowledge that testing has basically become impossible, changing their standardized testing policy from “test-optional” to “test-blind”. With this announcement, students will not only feel more at ease with the college admissions process, which is already stressful in itself but also colleges will gain a greater pool of applicants who are ready to showcase their FULL potential, unhindered by current circumstances.

Who knows what will happen from here, but if anything, hopefully, things get better for EVERYONE.

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