Canceled state testing could impact how students apply to college

Wednesday, March 25, 2020
News 12 at 6 o'clock/NBC at 7

(Source: WRDW)

AUGUSTA, GA. (WRDW/WAGT) -- With standardized testing canceled, the process to apply for college could be easier for the upcoming class of freshmen.

Augusta University’s Summerville campus remains empty, like most colleges around the country.

All schools are closed and are currently doing online learning, trying to maintain educating students from their homes.

Dr. Gretchen Caughman, Provost of Augusta University hopes to have even more students walking along with this lawn than they did last year.

That would mean record-breaking numbers for the university’s freshman class.

The university is only about 80 percent of the way to the goal but the staff hopes that not having to send SAT/ACT scores will be more of a draw to apply than a setback.

“This is unprecedented. I think everybody appreciates that just in terms of the disruption it’s caused every sector of life - and the university is certainly no different,” Caughman said.

For almost a century, the SAT has been a factor in college admissions. But since the SAT and ACT tests are canceled for the foreseeable future, the admission process for college will look a little different.

“We’re pleased that the university systems of Georgia has allowed all of its institutions to continue to evaluate and admit students on the basis of their high school GPA’s only,” Caughman said.

Dr. Caughman hopes this new change will only encourage more students to apply since there are now fewer requirements. Students who haven’t applied yet, but have already taken the tests can also choose whether they send in their scores.

“We want to advantage students,” Caughman said. We want to put them in the best light possible. So whatever is the better way to look at them from that standpoint will be what we use.”

State testing on the K-8 level is also canceled. The South Carolina Department of Education announced it will not be administering statewide standard-testing this year to “allow educators to focus on meeting the needs of the students, and relieve undue anxiety.”

And on the Georgia side, a similar policy is in place.

But even though standardized testing has gone away, the expectations for students have not.

“Our students and teachers are still making sure that they’re getting the content and the information that they need,” Lynthia Ross of Richmond County School System said. “And they’re still learning. Learning hasn’t stopped because of coronavirus.”

Georgia Milestone testing normally accounts for 20 percent of a student’s course grade, ut now teachers will have to make some changes.

“We want to make sure that they have all the supports that they need now, for today, for tomorrow,” Ross said. “And that’s part of our mission really. To make sure that our students are prepared for life beyond the classroom.”

The Georgia State Superintendent is planning to officially recommend several waivers at tomorrow’s state board of education meeting. These waivers will include suspending the 20 percent course grade requirement for the Georgia Milestone tests.

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