COVID-19 modifications for this year’s National Latin & Greek Exam

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This year NLE and NGE exams will have changes due to restrictions and limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The tests have been moved from Thursday, March 11, to Friday, March 12. Tests will begin at 10 a.m.

Students whose schools are hybrid have the option to take the exams online or on paper. However, students that decide to take the exam at home will be given a different format of the test. Furthermore, acknowledging possibilities of academic dishonesty at home, NGE/NLE administration encourages teachers to discuss with their students about making the right decisions relative to the exam. 

“The American Classical League has worked so hard to find a way to offer them in a digital format this year and we are happy to participate,” said Georgia Brandeis, Assistant Principal and Head of the Classical Languages department.

Though many students have begun their preparations for the test, some expressed their concerns about the virtual formatting of their learning in the past year. 

Sophomore Brian Hsu said, “I think that [the testing] will be different than usual, and the topics [tested] should be fewer during this pandemic. I am slightly concerned about not learning all the necessary topics in time.” 

Sophomore Erica Lee said, “To be frank, I don’t feel as confident about the NLE as in other subjects.” Junior Berlin Catalan agreed and said she felt unprepared for the exam, even before the shift to virtual learning. Responding to concerns from many students across the country, the NLE administration team changed the syllabus of the 2021 test to contain questions based on the content of lower levels as compared to previous years. Simply put, questions will be tailored to the education students received virtually and have arguably been made easier.

Teachers seem to agree that the pandemic has hindered student learning, but remain confident in their teaching and their students’ performance on the exam. 

Classical Languages teacher Marianthe Colakis said, “Obviously, we have lost teaching time by shortening bands and building asynchronous days into the school week. Students may also be dealing with pandemic-related issues. But if students have done their work and learned the material up to this point, they should do well.” 

“Unlike Regents and other State-developed tests, the NLE [and NGE] will not go on a student’s permanent record, so the stakes are much lower,” said Latin teacher Christopher Amanna. “I understand that taking the NLE [or NGE] will cause additional stress for some students, but I would argue that it is positive stress. The preparation that we are doing makes you reassess and solidify your learning from this year. And if things don’t go as well as you hoped on the exam, the consequences are not dire.”

Ms. Brandeis also believes that the exams are a great opportunity for students as well as a strong addition to their resumes.  “These are not high stakes exams and scores will never reflect negatively on class averages as teachers commit to not using them in a way that may negatively affect grades,” Ms. Brandeis said. “We love the idea of our students participating in National Competitions and it’s one of the things that sets us apart from other schools.”

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