Is the SAT Important?
The Scholastic Aptitude Test, or SAT, is a standardized test that high schools and universities utilize to determine a student’s readiness for college.
It’s a long test, with 10 sections (1 writing section and 9 multiple choice sections) and ends up being about 3 hours and 40 minutes. Although it’s widely used, not everyone agrees that it accurately determines if a student is ready for college, which has led to implementation of the test optional applications for some colleges now. The SAT is not just because it’s only one test that ultimately determines if you are ready for college. There are numerous downsides like lack of development of positive traits, using one test to measure something as complex as the brain, and thousands of dollars put into SAT Prep classes, all because of one test that dictates your acceptance into a college. Every year, juniors and some seniors all over the United States prepare for the SAT.
Let me repeat this again, students from all over the United States. This means there are so many different brains, and that means there are so many different makeup of brains that make up that one person and their thoughts, actions, etc. Therefore, one person may be “life-smart” with the ability to communicate well and make positive decisions, while another may be “book smart” with great grades but no common sense. The brain is so intricate that there are endless possibilities in a way a person could be smart. So….
.determining which students get into certain colleges for answering some multiple questions correctly in a timed session is a little ridiculous. William Hiss, a former Dean of Admissions for Bates College, studied grades, graduation rates and submitted test results. He stated that high school GPA matters more than the SAT because it is evidence of 4 long years of “self-discipline, intellectual curiosity and hard work” (Sheffer). He also stated that the human mind is “so complex and so multifaceted and fluid, that trying to find a single measurement tool that will be reliable across the enormous populations of American students is simply a trip up a blind alley” (Sheffer). Measuring the readiness of thousands of different students using one single test is like using a twelve inch ruler to try and measure how deep the ocean is.
This standardized test has the right idea to measure what students know, but it only manages to scratch the surface of the potential that student a student has to succeed in college without measuring other important factors like work ethic, home environment, test anxiety, etc and of course acknowledging that the brain is too complex to measure with one test. To congratulate students for being accepted into a college because they have answered multiple choice questions correctly in the given amount of time is unjust because the brain is so intricate and complicated to measure. Focusing excessively on one goal can lead someone to lose focus on other important things around them. High school students are molded like clay in the hands of their parents and educators. Essentially, many students are brainwashed to believe that the SAT is the only ticket into college which results in rigorous SAT prep outside of school.
However, some teachers are finally starting to take notice on the ridiculous curriculum that teachers students how to pass the test and squashing the importance of other things as well. Ron Maggiano, a teacher from Virginia, stated that the SAT only taught students how to pass a test and “suffocated creativity and innovation in the classroom” (Strauss). Additionally, all the stress and extra time put into prep classes lead to a student’s “passion being languished while test skills are honed” (Tiefenthaler). It’s good to be book smart, but how will it benefit you in the real world if you’re a boring person with no personality to work your job or even be hired by one?Passions help build the positive traits that are vital to work in harmony with people in everyday life. Many colleges, like Wake Forest University, look for traits “that don’t show up on standardized tests: integrity, work ethic, and open-mindedness” (Tiefenthaler).
Having time for a hobby teaches characteristics that can’t be learned through reading books and practicing problems repeatedly.Through success and failure, every situation that a student encounters on the path to chase their dreams and do what they love allows for mental growth in which students can learn to react appropriately, something that is vital for professional communication amongst peers in the work field. Constant SAT Prep and stress from this one test, can take all of that away if students are trained and programmed during all their free time to practice for a test that does not fairly measure if they are ready for college. Of course there are still people who argue that the SAT is a great tool to use for college applications, and obviously, College Board proudly stands by their belief that the SAT is essential for college. They state that the SAT “exams provide a path to opportunities, financial support, and scholarships, in a way that’s fair to all students” (About the tests).
Many people stand behind this statement and may believe that the SAT is equal for all students because it tests on subjects learned in school. But, is it really an even playing field for students who take the test? Studies show that “standardized scores positively correlate with income” (O’SHAUGHNESSY) What does this mean? It means that students who come from wealthy families have the luxury of spending thousands of dollars on SAT Prep classes that other students may not have an advantage of taking. For example, KD College Prep in Frisco has payments for programs that start from $1000 to $2900. Some families are lucky to be able make that in a few weeks, while others have the unfortunate problem of struggling to even pay for food to eat. However, the leisure of taking a test prep class is not the only factor that can affect the students’ scores.
One student may have gotten into an argument with his drug abusing mother the day of the test, while the other student wakes up to a home cooked breakfast with encourage words from his mother. Additionally, one student may be hungry from not having enough to eat while others may be full from eating all three meals a day. Too many external factors from a student’s home environment can deter the students focus from the test to their personal problems. Contrary to what College Board and other people believe, the SAT does not provide a fair opportunity for students to score well and get into a college because of the different obstacles that students my face. Once again, the SAT test has the right idea to attempt to get an understanding of what students know, but using one test to measure if a student is prepared for college is ludicrous since there are various factors that can affect the student’s score like the complexity of the brain, lack of traits vital to work, and environmental factors.
It’s unjust to use the SAT as a test that ultimately determines the academic readiness of a student. Therefore, heavier acknowledgement of high school GPA should be used to accept and reject students rather than the SAT. Works Cited: “About the Tests.” About The SAT – Reasons to Take the SAT. College Board, n.d.
Web. 26 Feb. 2015. “Prospective Parent FAQ – KD College Prep.” KD College Prep RSS. KD College Prep, n.
d. Web. 26 Feb. 2015. O’shaughnessy, Lyn.
“Who’s Benefiting from Test-optional Colleges?”CBSNews. CBS Interactive, 25 July 2014. Web. 25 Feb. 2015. Sheffer, Sarah.
“Do ACT and SAT Scores Really Matter? New Study Says They Shouldn’t.” PBS. PBS, 18 Feb. 2014. Web.
23 Feb. 2015. Strauss, Valerie. “11 Problems Created by the Standardized Testing Obsession.” Washington Post.
The Washington Post, 22 Apr. 2014. Web. 17 Feb. 2015.