Testing the testing system


Graphic Designed by Logan McGaheran

A graphic showing information about each of Minnesota’s standardized tests.

Logan McGaheran, Writer

Now is an important time for students because most standardized tests are taken during the month of April; whether it is the MCA, the AP tests or the very important ACT. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Minnesota governor Tim Walz decided to stop classroom learning and instead move to distance learning until May 4. Students might be able to resume classroom learning after this date, but what about the standardized tests that they were supposed to take while they were not at school, especially the ACT, a major factor in helping students get into colleges?

First, the biggest concern needs to be answered. The ACT was not canceled, but only postponed to Saturday, June 13 and Saturday, July 18. Juniors who were supposed to take the ACT on April 7 are to fill out a form about which day they want to take the test. Students who fill out the form will get a voucher for their ACT examination. This voucher includes codes that students use to be able to take the test that is paid for by the school. Once the school receives the voucher codes, they will email every student who filled out the form their code to take the ACT.

There will be some differences between the ACT that was supposed to be taken on April 7 and the makeup ACT tests. Assistant Principal Ms. Hollie Jeska said, “We are providing vouchers for all students to take the ACT on June 13th or July 18th.  This voucher will allow them to sign up to take the ACT test without writing for a national test date at no cost to them.  When we offer the test at OHS, all juniors take the test. The voucher is open to any OHS student that wants to take it, but all students do not have to take it.” 

The biggest difference between the April 7 test and the makeup tests is that the writing portion of the test is not included, which is the only change besides the new test dates. Ms. Jeska also said that there will be future discussions regarding the graduation requirements for the juniors of the 2019-2020 school year. 

The AP tests have also been postponed with emails being sent to all AP students. The emails have a copious amount of information regarding how students will take them from home. Test dates have been moved to May 11-22 with makeup test dates occuring from June 1-5. The tests can be taken at home or at school if they reopen by that time, and each subject’s test being taken on the same day at the same time across the world. The emails include a lot more information, so students who plan to take the AP Test should look at them to find out more. 

Despite both the ACT and the AP tests ending up getting postponed to a later date, the MCA (Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments) tests have been canceled for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year. The United States Department of Education is letting states bypass all testing requirements that are in the Every Student Succeeds Act due to school closures from the COVID-19 pandemic. U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said, “Neither students nor teachers need to be focused on high-stakes tests during this difficult time.” 

The changes being made to make sure that students will be able to take some of these tests can be confusing. Ms. Jeska’s email is open for any questions students may have regarding the ACT. If students would like more information about the changes regarding the AP tests, they can email their teachers to help them answer their questions.