The Northern Light

Standardized tests are overvalued by colleges


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Students pile into the same room at early hours in the morning. They bring their number two pencils, their approved calculator, and maybe a water bottle and wait as a teacher reads a set of instructions. The timer begins and students rush to the end, and if they are lucky, they will get the chance to check their answers. The timer goes off and it’s on to the next section, then the next, and the next. At the end,  students are exhausted, left in suspense and pray they can get a four digit number that will reflect one of the colleges they want to go to. One day, 4 hours.  

Standardized tests have too long been a way for colleges to evaluate the “college readiness” of prospective students. Every week of their high school career, students spend eight hours a day five days per week as well as hours of homework per night getting college-ready. That’s 40 hours a week without any homework, for 36 weeks per year, for four years. This means high schools spend 5,760 hours in the classroom learning. A GPA correlates very well to how well students use these hours to succeed. Shouldn’t this be the main point of consideration?  

Four hours. That’s how long it takes to take a SAT. If a student has a bad day, their score could be lower than usual, or if they are more thorough, they can run out of time on the tests, thus earning a score that is not reflective of what they really know. Can someone really argue that a slower but more thorough student is not ready for college? Does a college want quality or quantity in a student? Can a college really reject a student for one bad day?

It costs $75 dollars to take each SAT. If a lower income student only has one chance to do well on this test, can you really expect them to not be nervous? This could negatively affect their score. A high income student could take the test and hire a tutor until they get a perfect score. Is this fair for all students looking at college?

Students have been victims of standardized tests as the standard of college admissions for far too long. These tests simply aren’t the best reflection of a student’s success in college. Instead, GPA, writing, recommendations, and school involvement should be main factors in acceptance.  It is those things that tell you the most about a student and how well they will do in college, not just how well they can take a test.

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Standardized tests are overvalued by colleges