SAT & ACT do not accurately assess students’ academic skills

SAT & ACT do not accurately assess students’ academic skills

Edward Macdonald ’23, Staff Reporter

During the pandemic, SAT and ACT facilities were not available. In response, almost all colleges went either test optional or test blind, meaning that potential students were not required to take the SAT or ACT. 

As the deadline for the Class of 2023 to apply to college approaches, a majority of institutions remain test optional. For some years, the debate on whether colleges should use the SAT to determine the college readiness of a student has continued, and this has many people wondering whether we really need standardized testing.     

 Standardized tests have often been criticized for testing whether a student is good at taking tests or has rote knowledge of Math and English, but not whether they have the skills they will need to succeed in college. 

Research by the American Educational Research Association concluded that a high school student’s grade point average is a far better indicator of how a student will do in college than standardized testing. This is because a high GPA requires students to engage in class and develop strong academic skills such as time management, note-taking, and critical thinking. 

 Standardized tests are often seen as a fair and equal measure for colleges to use because everyone is tested on the same content.

However, this is false. Standardized test scores have been shown to unfairly advantage students from wealthy families and disadvantage students from low income households and non-English-speaking families. 

This is due to the high cost of getting a good score. The average student hits their target score after three attempts, and each attempt costs around $60. Furthermore, most students need tutoring or a class if they want to achieve a high score. The Princeton Review, one of the most popular SAT prep companies, charges $420 per hour for a private tutor and $7,500 for a class. 

Most families cannot afford these prices, thus students who might be extremely successful are excluded from a college education at a selective college because of their financial circumstances. Therefore, standardized testing should remain optional and should be considered less important than other indicators of college readiness.