SAT/ACT Are Wastes of Time

“Behind every one of those test scores is a living, breathing child who has dreams and aspirations that may or may not align with what’s being measured on standardized tests,” says Ankur Singh, a freshman at The University of Missouri. The way a student performs on an exam does not effectively measure a student’s intelligence.

Too often, colleges make improper inferences based solely on SAT and ACT test scores. Every college should eliminate the SAT/ACT exams from college admissions. SAT and ACT exams fail to precisely measure a student’s academic ability. When students take these exams, only a small sample of their true knowledge is captured from several years of study.Because of this limitation, colleges face an inability to draw proper conclusions about an individual’s intellectuality.

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Psychometrician, Daniel Koretz, agrees in saying these samples lead to “incompleteness of test scores” because they “are generally very small samples of behavior that we use to make estimates of student’s mastery of very large domains of knowledge and skill” (Harris). In addition, every parent wants their child to achieve. Right? Well, achievement consists of more than just a score from a standardized test. Teaching abilities, student’s willingness to push themselves, and class participation– these additional components significantly add to the overall outcome of success. Education economist, Richard Rothstein, bluntly stated the problem: “Measurement of student achievement is complex-too complex for the social science methods presently available” (Harris).

Lastly, SAT and ACT exams fail to assess other important qualities such as creativity, reliability, and individuality. Joan Harris, recognized by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, explained by saying, “Standardized tests reward superficial thinking and may discourage more analytical thinking” (Harris). Additionally, studies conducted of students from several grade levels found a positive correlation “between students with high scores on standardized tests and relatively shallow thinking” (Harris). Consequently, asking questions during class, tying ideas together, and actively engaging in class discussions does not seem to create better test scores. Overall, the most accurate way to measure a student’s ability to complete college-level work “is how [they’ve] done in college-prep courses” (“Test Optional”).

Despite the evidence showing the disadvantageous effects of the SAT and ACT, many believe this testing levels the playing field in the admissions process. In fact, the proper use of critical data can “measure, monitor, and improve student performance,” but a dilemma occurs due to the large curricular diversity throughout the United States (Caperton). Often, different educators have “meaningfully different curricular preferences” that do not perfectly align with standardized tests (Popham). Test creators are required to create one size fits all tests which can not account for the varied information each student is taught. Furthermore, Michigan State University conducted a study that found “50 and 80 percent of what was measured on the tests was not suitably addressed in the textbooks” (Popham).

Inequality in curricula poses a serious problem for the SAT and ACT. Colleges should rethink the way they measure a student’s knowledge to ensure that the most eligible student’s enroll. Using SAT and ACT tests to practically determine a student’s future is surely not the way to go. To more accurately evaluate a student’s work ethic, colleges should view a student’s GPA which encompasses their knowledge from several years and extracurricular activities. In the end, having students fill in bubbles for several hours on a Saturday morning takes away their time and their confidence.