Juniors Wonder What’s Next

Covid-19 has impacted standardized testing, classroom learning, prom, sports, and more


Patricia Pflaumer

Massachusetts Department of Education and Secondary Education Testing page was updated in April of 2021 with news on the MCAS.

Elizabeth Bromley, Contributor

For the past year, Covid-19 has affected almost everyone, no matter their age. Students at Abington High School are no exception. Several juniors have weighed in on what the 2020-2021 school year has been like for them.

“Junior year has been stressful just because of the amount of changes we have had to go through this year, like from only getting work assigned at the beginning of the year and going in person, to the having to join [Teams] call, to now where some people go four days a week, and word of us going back,” said Rachael Walsh when interviewed in late March.  

Students have always been told that they cannot graduate from high school unless they pass MCAS. But last school year, the MCAS was cancelled due to Covid-19. Many current juniors were excited. They thought it was just postponed and would be given at a later date. 

But then weeks turned into months and months turned into a whole year. There is still not a clear answer to many juniors. A press release was issued by the Department of Education on April 1.

Pullquote Photo

I am not going to miss [MCAS] at all because standardized testing stresses a lot of us out.

— Rachael Walsh

There has been little talk in school about whether juniors who missed it last year will have to take and pass the MCAS at all. Some students were feeling a little nervous about not knowing whether they had to take the test this year, or next, or not at all.  

Walsh said, “I am not going to miss [MCAS] at all because standardized testing stresses a lot of us out.” 

Students worry that they will not remember everything that they learned over a year ago. 

Junior John LaRosa said, “we basically missed out on the whole end of our last sophomore year last year.”  That makes some students nervous. “Usually we spend time reviewing for the MCAS before we take it, but we have not been in review for MCAS this year,” LaRosa said.

On the other hand, Walsh said, “But if we do have to take it, I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.” 

Hybrid learning from September to April 12 posed an obstacle to many students. LaRosa said, “I had one real class with the teacher each week and one remote. It was beneficial, but not that beneficial because I am just looking over a computer screen. It is not that interactive.” 

The Department of Education and Secondary Education issued a press release on April 1 that said, “As a result [of missing so much classroom learning], the upcoming administration of the MCAS, scheduled to open on May 3, will no longer be required for current 11th graders.

Like with MCAS, SATs caused confusion because students did not know when they were taking them. Some seniors never did. 

Some juniors did not get to take the PSATs because they had to quarantine during the test date.  

Ms. Kristin Ferioli, the head of the guidance department said, “The PSAT is typically only offered once a year in October. This year was an exception due to the pandemic. The next PSAT will be Saturday, October 16, 2021.” 

As for the SATs, Ferioli said, “The SAT’s are offered several times a year. The test dates and locations are listed on the site [www.collegeboard.organd students choose where and when they will take the test.” 

Besides standardized tests being affected by Covid-19, social events have been also. For instance, a question that has been up in the air is about prom.  

Many can remember being little girls, getting excited for prom. Some got to see their older sisters go to prom in their dresses and couldn’t wait until it was their time to have a prom.  

Last year’s junior prom never even happened. It might happen as a senior prom instead, according to the Senior Class Advisor Mr. Matthew Cutter. 

While interviewed for The Weekly Wave Mr. Cutter said, “…we should be able to do everything for you guys that every senior class has gotten in the past. 

Sports have also been affected by the pandemic.  But, some athletes have been able to play, which is a bright spot.

Junior Sydney Brundage said, “For sports, we still have to wear a mask and it was difficult at first, but I got used to it over time. I was glad to be able to continue playing sports.” 

With the numerous changes on the mindof many Abington High juniors, they can only hope that with the few weeks they all have left, things will begin to brighten up a bit. 

Update: The Department of Education and Secondary Education met and passed the proposal to eliminate MCAS for the class of 2022 and receive their competency determination (CD) “…by earning full credit in an approved course and demonstrating competency in that subject, in lieu of earning a qualifying MCAS score.” Media Advisory Press Release CLICK HERE