By Dominique Hughes
Nowadays, standardized tests are undeniably controversial. Is the concept of having one single test that determines your fate for college worth it? Some students are naturally good at test taking but for the other students who aren’t, does that mean they aren’t as smart? I say no way! Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses; therefore, how could one test with the same material measure everyone’s knowledge equally? It can’t. And not only is the test timed, but it lasts for hours. Students suffer from stress and anxiety studying for and taking this one test. In addition, if you get a bad score on the test you most likely only have one more opportunity to take it again, costing an additional 60 dollars. Colleges put so much pressure on getting a high score that even if you were a good test taker, the fear of failure can cause your mind to blank on material you actually know. This is not only a great weight bearing on students but it is for their parents as well. Parents are spending hundreds of dollars on tutoring, books, and calculators all for ONE test. I believe that one’s skills and knowledge should be measured by their high school experience. Colleges should be focusing more on students’ GPA rather than their SAT score. High school challenges students in a way that one test could never even compare to.
Starting from freshman year, students have the control to choose to participate in extracurricular activities, play sports, and push themselves academically by taking honors or advanced placement courses. Students’ knowledge and skills should be measured by their GPA they receive from all four years of high school. This way they would not have to stress and cram in extra studying for one test that, in return, takes away from other important school work. It has been proven that many teachers do not agree with the test either because it is taking away from the actual material they should be teaching soon to be college students. Instead, they are teaching students techniques such as process of elimination and guessing tactics for a test that you only have 60 seconds to spend on each question.
It is proven that the SAT along with other standardized tests are not good predictors of college success and it takes away from creative thinking. A study done by the Brookings Institution found that nearly 80% of test score improvements yearly were caused by fluctuations and did not correlate with changes in learning that could benefit students in college. Also, creative students whose strengths do not include standardized testing are getting neglected by their dream schools due to the pressure of receiving a specific score on a test.
Thankfully, some schools including our own, Bryant University, are veering away from standardized tests. It should be optional whether or not the student wants to submit their test scores. I think this is the way to go. Students should not suffer from stress, anxiety, and other mental strains for one test. All colleges should become test optional or at least most because no student that tries hard and earns good grades in high school should have to wonder if they are good enough for their dream school, judging by one test: It is a poor way to determine an individual’s intelligence.