Putting the ACT and SAT in Their Place

In the day and age we live in, the amount of money students can get from scholarships is highly based on a standardized test score.These tests are a burden and a source of high levels of stress for high school students who are planning to go to college. For many, these tests are seen as a measuring stick of a student’s academic ability and potential instead of just a test that shows if a high school student is ready for college. Colleges use them in just that way by making it much easier for students with high ACT or SAT scores to get some of their college expenses paid for than someone with a lower score.

A four-hour test can be worth so much money in scholarships, but what is there to say about the rest of time students spend on academics? A test score surely can’t give colleges a holistic view of student. For example, a study by William Hiss, Vice President and Dean of Admissions at Bates College showed that test scores have no correlation with performance in college. Many other studies have gone to show the same thing. So why are they used so heavily in the scholarship process? When you start to think about the emphasis put on standardized tests it begins to become illogical. College isn’t a half-day event, and the prediction of a student’s performance shouldn’t be based on one. The ACT and SAT are just a snapshot of a student’s ability and only measure one performance instead of several ones.

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This one-day approach fails to show what kind of character a student might have, and it also seems unfair to make an assumption about the future performance of a student based on a single test score. The ACT and SAT make students learn how to take tests that won’t help them in college or the real world.Because of the emphasis put on the ACT and SAT, students get caught up in worrying too much about them that they put less focus on learning the material taught in their classes in school that will actually prepare them for college.Schools even provide ACT and SAT preparatory classes, and the companies also sale books that coach students in strategies and other ways to make a higher score on the test.Generally while students are in high school they can waste valuable time on these tests instead of learning something beneficial that can be used in higher education. It’s also safe to say that these testing companies are a monopoly and their main priority is to use the tests to make money.

Whether that is from the practice books they sell, the registration fees, or the late fee, it is evident that their goal is to make money.These companies are well aware that their tests don’t accurately show student’s potential in college, but they continue to administer the tests. Instead of making ACT or SAT scores a priority, a student’s grade point average, or GPA, of core classes should be considered as more important.Test scores could still be used to help validate GPAs, but they should be considered second.GPA can measure things that a test score can’t like hard work and consistency over a period of time.

Also, the difficulty of classes and whether or not students challenge themselves in AP classes should be considered for scholarships. There are many flaws in this process that has become so instilled in our education system.These testing companies have a strong grip on the scholarship process used by most colleges and are the reason many students are looked at as a test score.The exact answer to these problems would have to be decided on by individual colleges, but the unavoidable conclusion is that the current process needs to change.