The effectiveness of standardized tests

Are standardized tests still effectively measuring the knowledge needed for colleges to determine whether a student is a good candidate for their school?

Ellie Wingen, Page Editor

As of recently, the Universities of California are suspending the requirement of the SAT and the ACT on college applications until 2024, however, the debate of whether or not these tests should be required at all continues. 

To carry on with this discussion, there are some thoughts worth recognizing before coming to a conclusion. The SAT and the ACT are timed achievement tests that measure the knowledge a student has gathered while attending school. However, standardized tests could never fully evaluate a student’s intelligence due to the fact that there is a limited number of questions. Additionally, these questions focus on a limited number of subjects, mainly English, math and science. The testing of these subjects does not accurately reflect the broad range of knowledge that a student has acquired throughout their academic career.

Another component to this debate is the unfair advantage that some students have regarding financial support. Many students have access to tutoring and classes preparing for the SAT or the ACT that others do not. Moreover, these tutors and classes often charge hundreds of dollars that many students and parents cannot afford. A student who is unable to practice and receive professional help when preparing for a standardized test is more likely to have a disadvantage to a student who has access to more tools and resources.  

Arguably, some might mention that the SAT and the ACT are unnecessary due to the fact that universities are able to admit transfer students without requiring an SAT or ACT score. 

What those who are determined to bring an end to standardized testing fail to take into account is that many universities receive hundreds of thousands of freshman applications. Therefore, the more a student has to offer, the easier a decision can be made. These intelligence tests act as an additional factor of whether a student is an adequate fit for their school, as are grades, extracurriculars and experience. Furthermore, tests like the SAT and the ACT are used to confirm a student’s intelligence, rather than to define it. 

There are positives and negatives to requiring standardized testing but in the future, we may see more and more universities stop requiring standardized test scores on applications.