On Wednesday, Sep. 23, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Loyola High School held an in-school SAT for its seniors. Following Department of Health and CDC guidelines, Loyola decided to offer its graduating class a final chance to display their academic excellence in a standardized testing format.
In a decision led by Assistant Principal for Student Life Paul Jordan and Principal Frank Kozakowski, the school decided to venture outside typical testing administration procedures, opting to convert a regular school day to a senior holiday in order to accommodate the lengthy SAT.
Counselor Michael Denison explained, “It really became a big priority for us when we know that almost every SAT and ACT has been shut down since last spring, and our seniors did not really have an opportunity with the tests getting postponed or canceled. We knew this was probably the one opportunity if we could make it happen so that they could take the test before the end of the year.”
Senior Patrick Oh agreed, saying “There are minimal opportunities to take the test after this September date before applications are due. I figured that given the convenience of Loyola as the testing site, that taking the test would be safer than some random public school.”
Through the new in-school SAT program, Loyola was able to accommodate the academic needs of over 200 students, giving Cubs the final decision on whether or not to submit test scores in the new test-optional application environment.
When asked whether or not the COVID-19 pandemic is still a concern, Oh said “It is definitely a concern in that I am placing my own safety into the hands of others’ actions. I’m taking this risk with the understanding that Loyola will provide me with proper health and safety regulations.”
Originally scheduled to be held outside due to county health guidelines, a direct article from the Department of Health released on Friday, Sep. 18, allowed Loyola to host an indoor test with a maximum of 12 students per classroom.
Occupying classrooms in both Pinney and Ardolf Hall, desks were spaced out six feet apart, with a Loyola sticker signifying a desk appropriate for usage. To ensure social distancing, test-takers remained in their cars until signaled to enter. While on campus, students were not allowed to leave their classrooms other than to use the restroom and were required to wear a mask at all times.
With the help of faculty proctors, senior Dean Carolan thought, “Loyola was very professional in handling the exam and any safety precautions. I felt safe throughout the duration of the test and never came within close distance of other students or faculty.”
Since this SAT was not proctored directly by the College Board, and instead by Loyola High School, when asked about the legitimacy of the scores, Jordan said “There is no question in terms of the validity of the test. What we can ensure to make sure that the scores count is to run the scores properly, which will be to follow all of the testing center guidelines, security measures and proper proctoring. I am one-hundred percent certain that these scores will be fine.”
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