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Standardized Tests: What Do They Prove?
Posted by Trevor Roberts on Apr 25, 2014 - 6:27:22 PM

What point do standardized test say about America?
UNITED STATES—There are some rumblings going around in the country about the impact that standardized tests have on college admissions or students in general. Anyone who has attended school is well aware that the ACT or SAT tests are precursors to get into college.  Some take both tests, while others take one or the other. 


However, have you ever asked yourself the question, how impactful is the ACT or SAT score in general? Do they actually prove anything? I can honestly say I don’t know. There is so much pressure put on standardized testing to prove a point of an individual’s intelligence. Yes, we attempt to measure intelligence time and time again, but there is a problem: the ACT and SAT are tests developed by a unique group of people. The tests are aimed to cater to all ethnicities, but many argue that is not the case. 


I think the ACT and SAT are not as diverse in tackling minority driven questions. The test can be intimidating for most high school students. First and foremost, the guidelines for taking the test are excruciating. The first time you take the ACT or SAT it's free, granted that you have a waiver from your school. Any additional test after the first is a cost. That is a bit of a problem in my opinion. Some people don’t necessarily have the funds to pay for a standardized test that determines if most get accepted into college. The test should be free and one should be able to take the exam as many times as possible.


Very few students score high the first time they take the exam and those who do stop while they’re ahead. I mean it makes perfect sense. It would suck to take the exam a second time and to score much lower than the first time around. I remember the first time I took the ACT; it was on a college campus, no cell phone, no hats, no pens, no talking, no tardiness, and no restroom break. I felt as if I was in boot camp. That didn’t scare me; it was the idea that the test was TIMED! I seriously don’t understand the notion of a timed exam. It just places pressure on the student to feel like they have to rush to get things completed.  It creates anxiety. I’m sure many have experienced the “Why is everyone finishing before me” phenomenon.


So imagine for a second if the ACT and SAT requirements were eliminated from attending most four-year college universities. Would that change the dynamic at most universities? I would say yes to a degree. A test score won’t solely determine who gets in and who doesn’t. I think many college admissions fail to acknowledge that determining ones acceptance on a test is not suitable. Why can I say that? Well I know quite a few people who scored quite high on their ACT or SAT and failed to make it through the first year of college.


So what does that say about standardized tests? It says while you might have tested high, your adaptability to college life was not as equal. Perhaps, that’s what the focus should be to prepare students for college. Helping them learn the adjustments of being punctual, learning how to craft a successful study schedule, balancing social life, family life and school life. Not to mention those of us who were forced to work at the same time to pay for tuition.


There are so many other factors that can determine one’s success in the educational arena beyond high school besides a standardized test. This is not just in reference to the ACT or SAT, because at the collegiate level you have the GRE, MGMT and the LSAT to name a few.


It’s like so many schools see a high test score and think that person will definitely be an asset to the university. In the long run a standardized test is just that: it’s a test. It doesn’t predict one’s success in life. Heck, there are plenty of people who aren’t great test takers, that doesn’t make them stupid people. Success is not always determined by what you know, sometimes it's what you do with the knowledge that you obtain that has the overall impact on your life.


Cliffside Malibu




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