Get Rid of the Tests. Tests in the end of the year.

It is that time of the year where students shed their tears and stress over two the biggest tests they will ever take in their life, the SAT and ACT. The tests that determine their fate of whether they will be granted or denied the acceptance into the college of their dreams. Tests that can even decide the future of thousands of these individuals. Students’ scores on these exams can make or break a college application. Almost all colleges require the submission of one of these two exams, so there is no avoiding them. The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) tests students on their knowledge of math, reading, and grammar concepts and must be completed within the three hour and 50-minute time period with breaks. The highest possible score on this college entry exam is 1600, and it can be taken has many times as need. The ACT is another college entry exam that tests students in English, math, science, and reading. This test takes around three hours and 30 minutes to complete with breaks, and a perfect score being 36 points. Many intellectuals have debated over whether these tests are effective in measuring student’s intelligence and readiness for college. With the financial factors leading to unfairness, time limitations, and test anxiety, the SAT and ACT should not be considered as effective measures of intelligence when it comes to showing student’s preparedness for college.

Everyone in the world comes from different backgrounds and families that may not always be able to financially support themselves, let alone their kid’s futures. When money is tight, it is more likely for those families to spend their money on necessities like food, clothing, shelter, etc. rather than tutoring, classes, or practice books for an exam. Plus, it costs around $50 just to take either exam. Already students that come from low income households are starting at a disadvantage when paired up against the more stable and wealthier households. “Kids that came from places with poor public schools, high school dropout parents, and little to no income were predicted to score 510 points lower than average students and 784 points lower than advantaged students that came from private schools and educated backgrounds” (“Five Myths about the SAT”). Most people would agree that studying with practice tests and receiving one on one help with a tutor is very beneficial to be successful on any exam. Also, these students that come from high poverty areas do not receive better education than the students from the suburban locations. Many well ranked high schools offer numerous programs and classes to obtain college credits from AP exams or offer higher level and more rigorous courses that some schools can afford. The luxury of finding well educated professors to teach such intense courses in these poor areas does not happen very often. So, the students that plan to have a bright future attending their dream college could be affected because they do not have the required score needed even though everything else in their application is perfect. It is unfair that they are put at this disadvantage just because they did not have the privilege of growing up in wealthier homes. “The SAT was created by Carl Brigham’s, who wrote the IQ test for the American Army recruits, as a test to let people from all over, no matter their wealth or ethnicity, have the ability to attend Ivy league schools” (Blackwell). Yet, the lower income students are still performing worse on the exams than the higher income students. If the exam is supposed to allow equality, then why do the richer students tend to still score higher than the poorer students? Clearly, the SAT and ACT are not effective due to their unfairness in benefiting families with higher incomes.

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Imagine the clock is ticking down, and there is only 5 minutes left on the exam with a whole other page still left to complete. The sweat pours down their forehead, and the panic kicks in. Everyone has been there. The SAT and ACT both have an allotted time for each section of the exam that one cannot go over. This only allows students an average time of a little over a minute for each question. So, when a student finds themselves struggling with a question, they are forced to skip it and guess at the end. This only increases their anxiety for the rest of the test. All of these guessed or missed questions add up in the end wrecking the students’ scores. Both these college entry exams rely more on the speed of the student thinking about the answer rather than letting them have time to critically think through the answer. With more time, students would not be as pressured or focused on just filling in every bubble. They can process each question and give a logical answer to the problem asked to them. This could potentially lead to more better scores and results. Since the SAT and ACT are major focuses in college acceptance processes, they need to have some change to improve this. “Most universities take standardized testing scores like the SAT and ACT into such consideration that they account for more than 50% of the admission procedure” (“Why the SAT is Unfair”). These tests hold enormous power in college admission decisions that it seems unfair to rush students. Longer timed sections would diminish the stress levels and allow high probability of students’ scores to improve. To sum it up, the SAT and ACT’s focus on speed over analytical thinking presents a big downside to the two exams.

When preparing for major tests, one typically must do multiple hours of studying, several practice exams, and ask questions in order to succeed. All this preparation can be extremely stressful and time consuming. Students spend so much time focusing on the SAT and ACT that they could be failing to perform their best in the classes they have now. They can become to preoccupied and stressed about either of these exams that they forget that they need to do well in their other courses to get into college too. Mohan Dhall, the chief executive of the Australian Tutoring Association, proclaimed that “Spending too much time on the process was ‘not really healthy or recommended’ and could affect students’ performance at high school” (“Students Pay High Price”). If students fail a class in high school, they are not likely to get accepted into college. Not only do the test scores have to reach the college’s standards but the grades must too. High school students and college students both know about pulling all-nighters to cram for major tests. Sleep is needed for all humans to function properly. Thus, stressing over this exam causing them not to get the recommended hours of sleep can lead to serious health problems. In addition, all the studying may not even be beneficial. According to Donald Heller, director for Penn State’s Center for the Study of Higher Education, “There is even the possibility that students could study too much and reach a point of diminishing returns where they’re not gaining anything from over-preparing” (“Standardized Tests Not Always Best”). Kids will begin to reach the point where the words on the pages get blurry, and they physically cannot study another second. Students hitting this breaking point will not be at their best when completing the test. This could then lead to their poor scores, and the long hours of studying would all be for nothing. Following this, everyone has their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to tests. Some students are not the best test takers. They feel tremendous pressure and anxiety whenever they are placed in a testing environment. While they may not excel on tests, they may excel in other areas that the SAT and ACT do not allow them to present to colleges. Due to enormous loads of stress the SAT and ACT bring upon students, they should not be considered useful tests.

Even though the SAT and ACT are not perfect college entry examinations, their scores can correlate to the student’s individual achievement and tell potential success they may have in college. The student can showcase their knowledge that they learned throughout their countless years of education. However, while it does show a prediction of the student’s success in college, it only shows how they would do in their first year. These tests are only decent indicators for a person’s first year potential, not their whole college career. Jesse Rostein, a public and labor economist at Stanford University, exclaims that “The SAT explains a mere 24 percent of the variation in college freshman grade-point averages. By contrast, high school GPA alone explains 34 percent” (“Five Myths about the SAT”). Most people’s grades reflect their work ethic and how much they care about succeeding in school. One can determine valuable information just from grade point average alone. The SAT and ACT expect students to excel on one test and evaluate their future college achievement off that. Also, many students are not the same people that they were in high school. People change and become more mature when situations get more serious. College is not free like it was for must high school students. So, students become more motivated to succeed and begin to care about how their life is going to turn out. One cannot base a person’s achievement off a single test. The passion, drive, determination, and work ethic are key factors that prove whether a student has what it takes to be successful in college.

As the years go by, the SAT and ACT keep making their way through people’s lives deciding the fate of every student. This can no longer be the case. They grant people with the access to expensive preparation classes and practice booklets higher scores leaving the rest that only wishing they could afford them. The exam’s focus on finishing fast with the correct answer rather than allowing students time to think through it is absurd. Lastly, the anxiety, pain, stress, and tears it causes students leaves very minimal gains. While some scholars believe the two exams provide enough evidence to predict student’s preparedness for college, others do not. Based on all the evidence previously stated, there should be another way to test student’s readiness other than the SAT and ACT. If your entire future depended on one score from a test, would you think that is fair?

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Get Rid of the Tests. Tests in the end of the year.. (2022, Sep 14). Retrieved from