Every year around winter time, students start to stress about something all juniors worry about, the SAT/ACT, a three hour test that determines what college you could go to. The harsh reality that students have to face is that not everyone is great at testing. People who have learning disabilities are at a disadvantage. Dyslexia is a learning disability where your brain switches up letters, creating it harder for some people to test.
Some people may argue that you can have extended time but that affects people with ADHD/ADD, attention disorders are cruel and aren’t the best for taking big tests. The SAT has been around since 1923. Almost 100 years, and not much has changed in the test, except for the fact that the test is now graded by machines. The harsh pressure put on students by colleges to have exceptional SAT/ACT scores is unfair. It discriminates against students in poverty, students with health disadvantages, it doesn’t show the colleges the students full learning potential, and it doesn’t give graduate’s life skills.
First off, the median income for America is $53,719. Which presumably means the others make less than that or make more than that amount . 15% of the country’s population is in poverty . Which means that privileged children have more of a head start. Money can buy reading material, or prep books, and even tutors or classes. The difference between the home environments is drastic. Children who are in poverty are focused on other things.
They are focused on how they are going to get food on the table or how their parents can’t afford tuition. They also aren’t exposed to vocabulary or English language at an early age, because more than 20% of America speaks a different language at home, and 41% aren’t native speakers . High income students have a thicker brain cortex in the areas with visual perception and knowledge accumulation which is something that is key for the SAT/ACT. Poor families arenʻt able to afford proper nutrition and might send their children to school without lunch or breakfast. “Not eating can reduce the brain’s capacity to learn.”
Even people with learning disabilities are at a disadvantage. Someone with ADHD has trouble paying attention, and aren’t able to control their impulses. Which can make it hard for them to take a test as long as the SAT. The whole experience is 3 hours. You do the English portion for 45 minutes, then math for 60 minutes, reading for 35 minutes, science for 30 minutes, and in total you get a 17 minute break. The human brain is able to focus for 14 minutes without getting distracted, which gets worse as people with learning disabilities have a harder time focusing.
Second of all, standardized tests don’t value creativity. As we all know the tests are graded by machines. Which means that college administrators aren’t able to see the thinking process of the student. They might answer the question wrong on the form but the thinking process could be right, and they would have made a mistake. If the answer doesn’t match the margins of the test it will be marked wrong. It is a major disadvantage towards people who are strong in categories such as dramatic arts, and art media. Those people may be amazing at that but the college they want to attend is only able to judge their potential through their ACT/SAT scores. Colleges are arguing that the real way to see the potential of a student is through GPA.
“The evidence of the study clearly shows that high school GPA matters. Four-year, long-term evidence of self-discipline, intellectual curiosity and hard work; that’s what matters the most”- Hiss said. . Tests do not measure all of the skills that are needed in college which are time management, stress management, study skills, money management, seeking assistance when needed. According to a study done, students without high grades in high school and have great testing scores, they aren’t promised success in college, but people with good grades and modest testing scores were proven to do better in college.
Third of all, more than 700 colleges in the United States are now test optional schools. Even some Ivy league colleges are deciding to switch, and give students the options to turn in their test scores with their applications. It is showing a reduced amount of stress in the students. Chronic stress can contribute to long term problems for heart and blood vessels, stress also prevents the development of your immune system to get stronger which in hand could make it easier for you to get sick and make it harder to fight off bugs.
The actual statistics of people doing good on their SAT/ACT is quite low. 1% of people who take the test get a perfect. And 5% of the test takers get above a 1400, which is a score good enough for 100 of the top colleges. Cornell, Arizona State University, Pitzer college, and University of Iowa are a small amount of the colleges that are offering this option. Cornell is a very prestigious college, even with a 4.0 gpa and a 36 on your ACT the chances of getting in are 43%. A Chicago news wrote an article on how after some colleges dropped the required tests, the diversity increased by 31%. By taking away the stressful studying of SAT/ACT applicants have more time to focus on their college essays and interviews, and they were able to get to know the applicants better “which puts them in a better position to predict their likelihood of success.”
In Conclusion, I believe colleges all over America should give students the option to submit test scores. Because it discriminates against people with learning disabilities, such as people with ADHD or Dyslexia. It also brings upon a huge blanket of stress, while students are waiting for test scores, or when they are preparing for the test month before.
And by eliminating the only option of taking the test it will relieve people who are simply bad at testing. It discriminates against students in poverty, students with health disadvantages, it doesn’t show the colleges the students full learning potential, and it doesn’t give graduate’s all the skills to be successful in college.