Pandemic presents safety concerns for standardized testing


Used with permission of Millen Chudasama

Freshman Millen Chudasama studies for the SOL tests. This year, tests are being done online at the school.

Dayana Najarro, Staff Writer

SOL tests are taken yearly by students from grades three-12 in Virginia, to test knowledge in their four core subjects including math, science, English, and history. COVID-19 presents the issue that students may have to take the test in school and risk getting sick.

“Taking the test online would be a safer option for me because I feel that it would be better for my safety and less contact with people is for the best,” freshman Kayli Try said. 

Even though SOL tests have to be taken in school so testing can be secure, many students disagree because they are concerned for their health. According to APnews, COVID-19 cases among kids have been increasing by 2% ever since schools started opening up again. Last year, Virginia chose to cancel all SOL tests due to the start of the pandemic and quarantine. 

“I think that SOLs being canceled last year was a good decision,” freshman Millen Chudasama said. “Canceling helped reduce the spread of COVID-19 and reduce stress on students while transitioning into a virtual learning environment.” 

According to the online learning is not the same as in-person learning; hence, many students feel they haven’t gotten the full learning experience which has caused a lot of students to struggle and fall behind. 

“I believe that SOLs shouldn’t be a required thing because although yes it shows how much you learned,” Try said. “This year’s education system is an even harder environment as to past years. Every student is trying their best this year but learning virtually didn’t fit with most of the students comfort zone and how they learned.”

With COVID, schools have had flexibility with testing. Juniors now have the option to defer from their English SOL in March which is the usual testing time. Student’s academics won’t be impacted by the test but they will have to earn a verified credit to meet graduation requirements. Each school’s policies are a bit different so students and parents should contact their counselors and confirm that deferring from the test won’t delay their graduation.

 FCPS will be using the same protocols as they did for the SAT and ACT. Students and staff will have to complete a health screening questionnaire before going to the testing site. Testing sites are not allowed to provide materials therefore students would have to bring their own. Masks will need to be worn and you will be allowed to bring hand sanitizer. 

“I think that many students do not feel prepared for tests while being taught in online school,” Chudasama said. “Remembering information you are taught is harder while in online school and many students are being forced to put in more time out of school to get the grades they want.”