COVID-19 affects school testing

The Standards of Learning tests, also known as SOL’s, have been taken by students for many years. The Writing SOL is one of these many important tests. It is taken by juniors, but students in the eighth grade also take this test.  The Coronavirus ended school early last year, so SOL’s were exempt. This year though, students are expected to take the Standards of Learning tests despite having to learn from online school. 

It is not a surprise that this year has been different for students and even teachers. Online school has made it more difficult for students to fully understand the material that is being taught. Many are uncertain and feel unprepared about being made to take the tests that students hold themselves accountable to pass. Dylan Newsome (11) said, “It’s been a crazy year, and I don’t think I’ll be able to sit down and focus on an SOL.” The hectic school year has made it difficult for students to pay attention in their classes and center their minds on learning. Prioritizing school was easy in the past years, but health seems to be taking the spotlight nowadays. 

A majority of the students at Graham feel that the SOL should not be mandatory this year since they were pardoned last year. Emma Largen (11) said, “I don’t think we should be taking the SOL. This year has been so different and challenging, I don’t think it’s fair to test us on things we haven’t been able to learn in class.” Students do not have the certainty of passing as they did beforehand. Elle Gunter (11) said, “I don’t think the school is going to get the full potential of the students and how good they are going to write.” 

Motivation is a very important factor in the outcome of the standardized tests that students take. Online learning has also made the motivation needed take a downfall. “I’ve heard from other people and friends that they don’t feel as motivated at home rather than in person,” Emma Largen said.