The Student News Site of MAST Academy

The Beacon

The Student Newspaper of MAST Academy, since 1991.
The Student News Site of MAST Academy

The Beacon

The Beacon

Senior Issue 2024
June 5, 2024

The 2021 PSAT disaster

By Emma Almanza
Staff Writer

The PSAT is a big stressor for high school students as it is not only a test-prep for the upcoming SAT, but can also present significant opportunities for college. However, the chance to receive such preparation and opportunity may be at risk this year due to the pernicious, ongoing pandemic. 

For the 2021 PSAT, the College Board (the conductor of the PSAT) does not intend to administer the exam online, leaving students who have otherwise opted to stay at home with no choice but to go in-person. In the process, they risk the chance of catching Covid-19, or missing out on the PSAT and the opportunities that come with it. Though it is still unclear as to why the College Board refuses to administer the test online—despite the fact that it is much safer for both teachers and students—it may be due to their poor record with online testing.

Back in May of 2020, College Board was sued for over 500 million dollars due to their knowingly faulty test system that did not allow a multitude of students to submit their exams. In light of their rocky history, the College Board may be hesitant to administer online exams again, leaving students in a lose-lose situation. 

Story continues below advertisement
The PSAT and its associated scholarship opportunity. (Courtesy of Wikipedia).

“I’m anxious about taking the exam on Tuesday. I don’t think the conditions are safe enough,” MAST sophomore Nahuel Garcia said.

On top of the confined quarters, the lack of social distancing outside of school is also concerning. Even now, teenagers are throwing a number of substantial parties and going out almost everyday, making it extremely dangerous to test with them, especially for students with high-risk family members or those who are at high-risk themselves. 

Additionally, MAST is only placing desks three feet apart, when the CDC highly reccomends six feet. Putting students who opted to stay at home in these potentially life threatening situations for something that could have been done online is insensible and cruel. 

“I feel unsafe going back to school to take the PSAT, especially because of how many students that have been quarantined in the past,” sophomore Athena Hernandez said.

Students will miss out on essential opportunities because of the faulty testing system provided this year. For example, a high score on the PSAT can earn students scholarship opportunities like the National Merit Scholarship. The exam also serves as beneficial practice for the important SAT, that may determine students’ entry into college. 

The conditions placed upon the PSAT this year are unfair to students as they have been put in a difficult predicament, and to teachers for being put at risk administering these exams in person. Due to the circumstances provided by the pandemic College Board should have administered these exams online to ensure everybodies safety during these precarious times. 

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Beacon

Your donation will support the student journalists of MAST Academy. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

Donate to The Beacon

Comments (0)

All The Beacon Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
The 2021 PSAT disaster