The Struggles of Taking Standardized Tests During the Coronavirus


2020 has just been one big curveball. As the year comes to an end, and our final months are here, bigger changes happen every day. Within the most recent few weeks, North Allegheny has gone full remote until January 19th. The sudden full online has pushed many students back, or some may be excelling more. Key tests such as the PSAT and PACT were still in measures to be taken. With all this drastic alteration, we asked NAI students how they felt in preparation for these tests, new schooling, and grade differences. 

Did you take either of the pre standardized tests? If so, was preparation a challenge? 

  • Mia Natoli- Yes, I took the PSAT and I didn’t really study or plan to because that is preparation for the real test so you know what you need to study.
  • Emma Swanson- Yes I took the PSAT and PACT. Because of my busy schedule and during this time I did not prepare for the exams.               
  • Taylor Susich- This year I took both the PSAT and the PACT. I decided to do nothing to prepare for these tests because I wanted to see my true baseline and then work off of that. 
  • Trey Gallo- I took one of the pre standardized tests. I took the PACT. Preparation was not really a challenge because I didn’t prepare.
  • Harron Lee- Yes I took the PSAT, I didn’t have time to prepare much but the school provided booklets which were helpful.
  • Brett Mcsparran- I took the pre ACT. Preparation was a challenge because I have not prepared for a test like that before. Whenever I take the actual test, I will need to do a better job of preparing.

Do you feel you had an advantage or disadvantage for taking these tests?

  • Mia Natoli- I don’t feel I had an advantage or disadvantage. This test was really hard for everyone due to how long it was and I feel that had a big effect on everyone’s performance.
  • Emma Swanson-  I felt like I had a disadvantage for the math section because we didn’t finish all of it yet but other than that no.        
  • Taylor Susich- I do think that I gained an advantage by taking these pre-tests because I now know where I stand and I can find the areas that I need to target specifically when studying for the real thing.    
  • Trey Gallo- I do not think I was at a disadvantage or advantage for these tests. I had not done much preparation. 
  • Harron Lee- I felt like I had an advantage in the math section since the questions were derived from previously taught topics
  • Brett McSparran- I feel like I now have an advantage for when I take the ACT. I am now familiar with the format and what the questions will look like.

If you were hybrid or NACA, has schooling changed for you personally since we went all remote?

  • Mia Natoli- I did hybrid schooling and remote had been difficult. No one is getting the same education as they were in school. It’s really hard to stay focused and make sure you’re staying organized.
  • Emma Swanson- I don’t have as much motivation for school as I did in years past. I still have straight A’s and hopefully, it will remain that way but assignments just feel so much more draining. But, I’m willing to pay that price to help save people from covid.
  • Taylor Susich- Personally the change hasn’t done anything to me. It felt the same in all situations, some of my classes are hard some of them are easy but being online or in school doesn’t really affect the outcome for me.
  • Claire Clemmer- I’m hybrid and school has changed a little. I definitely feel like the teachers are giving us too much work. I’m not sure if they think we somehow have more time now that we are fully remote but that’s not the case. I’m more stressed out now than I have been in a very long time.
  • Trey Gallo- I was previously doing hybrid learning and have experienced a pretty big change since we went all online.  I have realized that it is a lot harder to pay attention at home for a full week rather than just 3 days. 
  • Harron Lee- Just the aspect of learning, in school learning, was obviously more helpful since we could be more interactive. Also, technology was a common issue so things like attendance, assignments, submissions were all constant issues.
  • Brett McSparran- School has changed for me since going from hybrid to fully remote. I feel like it is now harder to stay on top of the assignments that are due. It is also harder to keep a steady schedule.

Have you felt your grades have changed from the switch?

  • Mia Natoli- My grades have definitely struggled more this year compared to others. It’s more difficult to fully understand each lesson. Online tests are harder because they have a question time limit which gives you less time to fully think each answer through.
  • Emma Swanson- My grades have stayed the same and they’re are just like years past but I feel like it’s harder to keep them up at some points   
  • Taylor Susich- If anything they have gone up because our teachers are providing us with more guidance in our assignments due to the situation we are in. 
  • Claire Clemmer- My grades haven’t really been affected because of the switch from hybrid to full remote but they definitely have since last year. my grades are definitely getting affected more now though. my teachers keep giving us more and more work and I’m falling behind
  • Trey Gallo- My grades have not changed too much since the switch.  I have been able to maintain pretty good grades but it has been a little more stressful making sure I’m turning in all of my assignments on time.
  • Harron Lee- I felt like online school was much harder than last year to adapt to, but I got used to it. My grades shook a little during the change, but I was able to stabilize it.
  • Brett McSparran- My grades have remained the same during the switch.

Do you feel you do better in online or hybrid classes? 

  • Mia Natoli- I feel I did better in hybrid because you get more of an interaction with the teachers. 
  • Emma Swanson- I feel better doing hybrid because at least I get some human interaction but I’m doing fine with remote so I’m ok with whatever that district decides what’s best for the deaths in our community.
  • Taylor Susich- I am the type of person that needs routine and because I have been at home for so long that is what I am used to. Hybrid now seems like an unordinary situation so I feel better online.
  • Trey Gallo- I feel like I do better with hybrid learning because learning in school is a lot easier than learning at home.  Being at school can keep me a lot more focused than at home.  Even though I enjoy the consistency of being at home, academically I do better at school.
  • Harron Lee- I feel like I do better in hybrid classes.
  • Brett McSparran- I feel like I actually do better when fully online. Being hybrid made the school week hard to manage and keep track of. It is easier to manage school when either fully online or fully in person.