CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Seniors who would have normally taken the state-mandated SAT their spring semester of junior year had the opportunity to take it Wednesday morning.
The SAT is required by the Illinois State Board of Education in order to receive a high school diploma. Students who chose not to participate in the ISBE-provided Fall 2020 SAT with Essay will be required to take it in Spring 2021 instead.
Cassie To, a senior at Central High School in Champaign, said desks were spread out for social distancing. Students and staff also wore masks. She said the experience, which is normally associated with stress for juniors and seniors, instead brought a different feeling.
“Out of all this uncertainty, it made things feel a little bit more normal,” To said. She said she saw some of her classmates and teachers for the first time in months at the testing site. “It’s hard being a senior and not getting to go to school and be with everyone, but I’m grateful that everyone is staying safe.”
To is applying to a mix of schools that will and won’t be requiring standardized test scores this year due to COVID-19.
“It’s comforting to know that stress is kind of lifted off a bit,” To said. “But scholarship-wise, obviously taking those tests is really helpful.”
Likewise, Renee Mullen, whose daughter also took the SAT on Wednesday, hopes she’ll be able to use this score to apply to schools.
“I’m really grateful for the opportunity she had to take the SATs,” Mullen said. “A lot of things have been delayed.
U of I is not requiring test scores this year. Andy Borst, the Director of Undergraduate Admissions, said if students have a test already in hand that they feel confident about, to go ahead and apply with that score.
“The student that does not yet have an exam in hand but they feel good about – meaning they’re saying I’m going to take a test in October or in December and then apply – I would just go ahead and apply test optional,” Borst said.
For those who don’t submit scores, Borst said the department will look at how those seniors are doing in their classes, how rigorous their workload is, and if they’re involved in activities and courses that reflect the majors they’re applying for.