Will scores be skewed?

On Oct. 13, juniors took the PSAT after a year and a half of online learning. This marked the first standardized test since lockdown. The test was organized by Vice Principal Kyle Garrity, and was funded by the Redondo Beach Educational Foundation (RBEF).

“RBEF donated the money and they paid for this experience [to give kids practice], which is rare,” Garrity said. “I’m pretty grateful that they did this because most schools don’t have this kind of foundation.”

With the opportunity provided by RBEF, Garrity believes that students should take advantage of it and take the PSAT. Students were given the chance to opt-out, yet there were over 700 students in attendance for the PSAT, according to Garrity.

Though UC schools are not requiring the SATs or ACTs anymore, Garrity believes that it would still be wise for students to take the tests. He thinks that although taking the SAT and ACT seems to be becoming less and less important, students should definitely take them if they want to apply to private or out-of-state schools.

“For kids considering college or if you plan on going into the police force, fire department or public services, there are exams like this that are going to take a long time, so it’s a really good practice,” Garrity said.

However, even without these test scores, UC schools have other methods of comparing students academically. That’s where MAP testing, CAASPP (California Assessment of Student Performance and Progression) and SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium) testing come into play. These standardized tests are taken at school to judge students’ growth, as well as rank them by percentile in comparison to other students in their grade.

Lukas Havrilchak, RUHS junior, expressed his opinion after taking the PSAT.

“I don’t think the PSATs show any signs of learning loss because people don’t treat the test as a way to genuinely benchmark their own skills,” Havrilchak said.

However, Junior Braedon Beuth thinks that the PSAT shows signs of learning loss in students because of the COVID lockdown and that most students went into the test unprepared.

Due to the 2020-2021 school year being online, RUHS made every school day a minimum day. Many students believe that they did not learn as much as they should have last year, which may have led to a decrease in their academic knowledge.

Junior Joshua Hasegawa thinks that PSAT scores will show signs of learning loss.

“I think that most students regressed from last year through online learning, as it really affected the way some students learned. Most people are more hands-on learners, and through online learning, we couldn’t get as much hands-on instruction time from teachers,” Hasegawa said.

Now that the school year opened to in-person, students will get more one-on-one time with their teachers.

“[Last year] was mostly independent study, but there’s a lot of distractions at home, [and it can be hard for students to focus,] especially if they don’t have a quiet working environment. [On the other hand,] at school, you have a quiet learning environment, a teacher and an academic environment will help you learn better,” Hasewaga said.