WHY COLLEGES ARE ABANDONING STANDARDIZED TESTING
Perhaps the most stressful thing about your last year of high school is being able to score well on your SAT and ACT exams. This has always been imperative to getting into an esteemed college or university. The SAT has always been known as the predominant factor in extending a place to university students. Although this is still the case with some colleges, the trend seems to be on a downward trajectory.
In recent years, the number of schools that have opted to eliminate the SAT and ACT as an admission requirement has skyrocketed. In fact, according to sources, many as 1 in 4 colleges have stopped using standardized tests for admissions. Some Ivy League schools have decided to follow this trend as well. In 2016, Columbia became the second school to drop the SAT and essay requirement.
Perhaps one of the biggest reasons for doing so that some of these institutions want to give a fair chance to people of color, those who belong to a lower income stratum or those populations who might not otherwise be admitted into these schools. The reason here is that many people from these walks of life may not be able to afford to take the SAT or the ACT. This essentially means that the student body would primarily be made up of affluent students and be as ethnically diverse as the college hopes to be.
According to the National Association for College Admission Counselling, the decision to make tests more optional will be beneficial to schools and students alike.
- 19%of the students being admitted into test-optional schools were from underrepresented student populations.
- Schools also saw an increase in Pell grant recipients—31% of them were those students who did not submit test results.
However, the lack of diversity isn’t the only factor taken into account when deciding to eliminate standardized testing. Higher learning institutions have also found that some students may have the option of getting tutored which creates an unfair advantage and thus is not always useful.
Another reason that causes the nation’s top schools from admitting students just based on a score is that while each school has a different method of grading, high school GPA is a reflection of the sort of behaviors that students will need to be successful in college. This is because it is about being on top of your game throughout the year; not just for the duration of a 4- hour test. If the school GPA is low, then the admissions committee can pass on that prospective student since they can sum up that student’s poor work ethic. According to Forbes, another argument that can be made against the SAT examination is that it merely tests a student’s ability to cram before a high-stakes exam.
According to the same article, SAT scores are not a precise measure of intellect since students can take the test multiple times to build on their test results. It’s a known fact that the average student who retakes the test receives a score boost of more than 100 points. This puts those students who cannot afford to give multiple tests at a serious disadvantage.
Perhaps one of the main reasons why most colleges are thinking of making SAT and ACT test an option is because of the scandal they have been involved with recently. In October of 2019, one of the proctors in charge of the examination admitted to fixing students’ scores in exchange for bribes. Although this kind of confession isn’t common in the world of college admissions, it only goes to facilitate the argument that these standardized tests are rigged in favor of the rich and powerful who can use their influence to score better in exams.
It has been speculated that the importance of taking the SAT has been amplified by those who stand to gain from it the most—SAT preparation publishers and those who give SAT and ACT tutoring.
It is due to these aforementioned reasons why many experts at esteemed universities and colleges decide to make standardized tests optional—this trend shows no signs of stopping any time soon.