Farewell, SAT!

As William Julius Wilson, an American sociologist, once said, “But the person who scored well on an SAT will not necessarily be the best doctor or the best lawyer or the best businessman.

These tests do not measure character, leadership, creativity, perseverance” (William). Unfortunately, SAT scores majorly determine whether students get into their desired college or not. Additionally, some colleges will not even consider an application if the applicant does not have the desired SAT score. So, is what students do in four hours more important than what they do in their four years of high school? Sadly, yes. Consequently, schools should stop requiring the SAT because a high school transcript is a better indicator of college performance than the SAT.

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High school grades and activities are the best indicators of college success, not a four-hour test. As soon as high school students start their junior year, stress starts creeping among them. Grades, AP classes, AP tests, A’s, homework, tests, sports, clubs, volunteering, activities. This is what you find on high school transcripts and in college essays. However, colleges consider the SAT to be more important than what students do in all their high school years. Mara Meijer, a junior who took the SAT and wants to be a veterinarian, said, “A lot of my teachers have said that if you don’t have these scores, [colleges] won’t even look at your applications” (Westervelt).

In other words, transcripts ofvery talented, passionate, responsible, and hardworking students will not be even looked at because they do not have the required SAT score. Additionally, some students do not control their SAT scores but are entirely responsible for their high school transcript. As Ann McDermott, a director of admissions at the college of the Holy Cross, said, “We evaluate students based on the four-year story that they tell us through their transcripts, essays, and interviews. Their high school career is concrete and real; they are the authors of their own narratives” (McDermott). High school transcripts show how students have challenged themselves and improved over their high school experience.

SAT scores are mostly skewed by socioeconomic status, and access to test-preparation programs (McDermott). Also, SAT scores do not always match up with high school grades, so they do not always predict college success. According to William Hiss’ study,kids who had low or modest test scores, but good high school grades, did better in college than those with good scores but modest grades (Westervelt). Colleges want successful students, right? Despite the evidence that the SAT does not accurately measure college success, many insist that the SAT is an objective measure of college readiness and provides college admissions officers with a reliable tool to compare students. In fact, the SAT offers a standardized level playing field in the admissions process (Gaston).

However, upper-class students get an unfair advantage because socioeconomically disadvantaged test-takers cannot afford the benefits of SAT preparation (Cooper). Additionally, the test is constructed in a way that rewards strategic guessing, highly-speeded pace, and cultural biases–not skills necessary for a higher education like higher order thinking skills, strategic reasoning and creativity. For example, research shows that over 40% of reading comprehension items can be answered correctly without reading the passage (Fairtest). Consequently, the SAT is biased; the SAT favors upper-class students;the SAT is stressful; the SAT does not measure college success Colleges that are going to prioritize high school transcripts over SAT scores will encounter more successful and diverse group of students. The SAT’s does not always measure intelligence and hard work.

As a result, high school is the best indicator of college performance and success. High school reveals true talents and passions that cannot be identified through a standardized test. Thus, colleges should no longer require SAT scores and pay closer attention to high school achievements.