Standardized Tests- A Thing of the Past?

Standardized tests were created to give all students a universal test with similar conditions in order to accurately gauge a student’s academic abilities. However, many believe that the same test that was created with fairness being a top priority can no longer hold that title.

This unfairness is clear when looking at the correlation between high SAT test scores and socioeconomic status. Research suggests that high test scores and household income have a strong correlation with one another. Hundreds of colleges and universities have realized this and are no longer requiring test scores on applications.

In addition to being unfair to low-income students, standardized tests require all students to conform to learn a certain way. If a student is not able to learn this way, their scores will be affected, rendering the test incompetent for gauging certain students’ academic abilities.

Test scores also affect public school funding. If overall test scores do not reach a certain average, funding for that school can be cut. This can negatively affect curriculums and teaching strategies in public schools.

Will SAT/ACT scores be obsolete in the future? If major reforms are not made, it is very likely that standardized tests will be obsolete in the future. Colleges and universities have already begun stepping away from this system, and scholarships will likely follow suit.

A major reason that students still consider taking these exams is for scholarship opportunities, assuming their school does not require a test score, so if and when scholarships no longer require a test score, there will be little to no reason for a student to take any standardized test. The main argument of this claim is that these tests are unfair. Some may argue that grades in school are just as unfair. The problem with this counter argument is that teachers and schools have the flexibility and understanding to help their students.

To put this in perspective, imagine a large school in a rich suburban neighborhood. These students likely will not have the same problems and obstacles that a student attending a school in a small working class neighborhood will have. So how is it fair for both of these groups to have the same test? The smaller school likely worries more about their students getting breakfast and transportation to the school while the larger school is able to focus on helping their students excel on this specific test. Student’s that get good grades at both of these schools are held to different standards depending on their situation because the teachers and school districts have the room to make those decisions.

Standardized tests take away that room for interpretation and give the advantage to the school that is able to focus on getting good scores on the SAT/ACT. Colleges and universities that do not require scores for these tests are giving students that don’t live with ideal circumstances a better chance at getting accepted to that school without compromising the quality of the students that are accepted.