Testing logistics caused difficulties for students

Isadora Groves, News Editor

Hundreds of students were unable to take the test after complications with PSAT and SAT testing occurred on October 12th. Students faced confusion regarding designated testing locations, disorganization, and long delays. 

Denise Akers, testing coordinator at Jackson-Reed said, “The original plan was for seniors to [test] on the second floor, sophomores on the third floor, juniors on the fourth floor, freshmen in the gym and the remaining classrooms.” The test was supposed to have a start time at 9:00 am for underclassmen and 8:00 am for seniors.

Instead, as students filtered into the atrium, many discovered that their names were absent from the testing assignment sheets, which designated students’ testing room and proctor. 

“For tenth grade they completely left off last names W-Z,” sophomore Dani Wallace said. The junior and senior classes found that their sheets were missing entirely. 

Most students started the test over an hour late and many ended up in rooms that they weren’t originally supposed to be in. Others started at 11:30, 2 ½ hours after schedule, with their testing period running until 2:45.

“I felt like I was most prepared to take the test at 9:00 a.m. when we were supposed to. Standing in the atrium and auditorium for two hours made me tired and anxious, so by the time I took the test I just wanted to get it over with,” Junior Nicole Dickinson said. 

The remaining students waited several hours, only to be denied the opportunity to take the test and were eventually dismissed. Dani Wallace remarked, “We sat in the auditorium for three hours until we were let out.” 

Seniors at Jackson-Reed were upset about these complications. While the SAT is not required by many colleges, the SAT can be an important signal. 

“It is a really serious test that impacts our futures. It’s a test that we use to apply to college, and better scores help us have a better chance of getting into the college that we want to go to. The way that administration handled this caused additional stress and anxiety.” A senior who took the SAT said.

Administration also struggled to accommodate students who were supposed to test in a small group or a separate room. A student with accommodations recounted that it took them hours to find their testing location and once they did, there was barely enough space in the classroom. 

“I didn’t even have the proper test book. I had a blank one.” This student continued. 

The next day, administration acknowledged in an email to students and their parents that the PSAT and SAT testing did not go as planned, and those that were not administered the test would have the opportunity to take the test at a later date. 336 students took this option.

But, there was no remedy for those who took the test in less than ideal conditions. The scores received by these students will remain on their academic records.

“I think that all of that delay and complication messed with my test-taking ability. I felt like I was in a really bad headspace once we started the test. That might have significantly impacted my score.” A senior taking the SAT said. 

When asked about how the testing issues happened, Akers explained that there were many challenges due to the large number of test-takers and constrained space in Jackson-Reed. “trying to plan for 2500 students [to test] in our spacing, when we are talking about classroom usage, it becomes a challenge,” she said. 

But, further she elaborated that many of the complications were simply “oversights” •