The Changing World of Education During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, education at the college and high school level is experiencing significant adjustment. 

For starters, many high schools and colleges are changing their final grading period of the year to be on a pass/fail basis in order to decrease student stress and recognize differences in a student’s ability to access and utilize the internet.

Covid-19 causing classes to be Pass/Fail | Photo Courtesy of U-High Midway

Pass/fail classes rarely contribute to a student’s overall GPA and this term will be no different. However, many colleges in California and beyond have decided to count pass/fail courses as legitimate qualifying college courses ensuring that students can meet the college requirements. For many students this move will raise or lower their GPA, especially for sophomores and juniors whose GPA during those years determines their UC GPA (A GPA solely based on a student’s grades in their sophomore and junior years of high school). 

College preparation is also seeing an adjustment such as the College Boardchanging their formula to better suit the needs of a distance learning environment. 

This year, AP tests will be held online, and instead of  being the typical three hours, it will be a 45 minute free response examination with the multiple choice portion being cut entirely. A passing grade on the exam will still count towards college credit for most schools as it always has. 

College Board AP Test Update | Photo Courtesy of AmadorValley

“Students remain eager to take AP Exams and to have a chance to earn credit and placement. We surveyed 18,000 AP students and 91% indicated they want to complete this important step, urging us not to cancel this opportunity they have been working toward. So we developed secure, online free-response exams for each course,” the  College Board website reported. 

The College Board has also been active in providing resources to students by offering free online review courses (webinar style) for every test. In addition, they have also been monitoring students’ access to technology asking for those in need to please reach out in whatever way they can.

For the SAT, the College Board has been surveying current high school underclassmen and juniors to gauge their interest in taking an online SAT examination to makeup for the missed examinations this Spring. While this move has not been made official, the company has stated that they will have SATs for every month in the fall, but whether they will be held online or in person is still to be determined. 

In response to SAT cancellations, many colleges, including UCs and CSUs, have dropped their testing requirements for the high school graduating class of 2021 regardless of what the College Board decides to do with its standardized testing in the fall. This is a big decision, considering that the fate of whether standardized testing should even be considered has been a controversial subject for years. 

Ultimately, it appears the education world is meeting this crisis head on by adjusting its existing principles to better suit the needs of its students. 

Written by Colin O'Malley

Colin O'Malley is a senior at Mt. Carmel and in charge of the Entertainment section of The Sun.

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