Upper school deans release updated standardized testing plans


Illustration by Alexa Druyanoff

Tessa Augsberger

In accordance with new guidelines released by the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, the Upper School Deans Office released updated information regarding the school’s standardized testing plans in an email sent to upper school students Sept. 22.

The SAT exam is scheduled to take place Oct. 14 for seniors attending the school , and a national sitting of the ACT exam is planned to take place on campus Oct. 24. The school will also offer the Nov. 7 and Dec. 5 SAT and SAT Subject Tests for students who had originally registered to take the exams on these dates.

Seniors frustrated by lack of testing spots

Head of Upper School Beth Slattery said the administration has received negative feedback from seniors who are frustrated with the lack of available spots at the school’s testing site. Slattery said many seniors signed up for the exam date in August, which was cancelled, while sophomores and juniors signed up for the tests in the fall, which will take place as planned.

“We can’t add spots because of social distancing, so I think some people are upset, but we don’t have any control over the registration of those national test dates, and they were already full as of this summer,” Slattery said. “If we could do anything to give seniors more of an opportunity, we would, but we don’t have any flexibility.”

Audrey Ahn ’21 said she started studying for the SAT in July of 2019 and was disappointed when the March exam last spring was cancelled due to COVID-19. She said she is grateful that the school will administer the exam to seniors Oct. 24.

“I was nervous because I had been prepping for such a long time, and I was very relieved that [the school] released the [Oct. 24] test date because I was signed up to take [the SAT] basically every single month since quarantine started,” Ahn said. “It was just one test date getting cancelled after another.”

The upper school deans also announced that an additional national ACT test will take place Dec. 12. This exam is intended for seniors who want to take another standardized test before the deadline for regular decision college applications, according to the email.

Deans’ primary concern is students’ health

Slattery said multiple precautions will be taken to ensure the health and well-being of students who opt to take the exams. The week before their exam, students will undergo testing for the coronavirus and will also be required to self-certify their health upon their arrival to campus. Once at school, students will be closely monitored.

“[Students] will have to check in when they get there that day and, as you probably know, we hired two school nurses who will be there,” Slattery said. “Students will not be allowed to congregate. They will have to go directly to their testing room, which will be limited in terms of the number of people they can safely have.”

School to postpone in-person PSAT exams to January

Instead of offering the previously scheduled PSAT sittings Oct. 14 and Oct. 17, the school will offer an in-person PSAT on Jan. 26 for juniors in order to provide students the opportunity to be recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. In addition to these official PSAT sittings, the school will proctor optional online practice PSAT exams for both juniors and sophomores Oct. 14 and Oct. 17 and a practice ACT on Nov. 14.