Are the SATs/ACTs really all that necessary to get into College?

Rachel Spinella
Features Editor

PC: Rachel Spinella

Since the days of high school, SATs (Standardized test) are used for college admissions here in the U.S. The SATs started back in 1926 by the College Board and was not aligned with high school curriculum at the time. In 2016, however, several adjustments were made for the latest version that year. 

The SAT is usually taken by high school juniors and seniors, it is intended to measure numeracy, writing skills and of course literacy. Key concepts that the College Board says are needed for academic success when it comes to college or university. But the test itself is tightly timed, so that it will produce a range of different scores. 

Recently on Nov. 6, the Washington Post published an article that focuses on a specific California school district, that want the University of California (UC) admissions to stop using SAT and ACT scores as requirements for admission. The school district and advocates, claim that the exams are illegally discriminating against multilingual learners, underrepresented minority students and students who have disabilities. 

The Washington Postalso states that research has shown that “family income, race and the mother’s education level strongly influences outcomes.” Due to the situation the UC has already begun to examine the use of its test scores in admissions. And those in higher education seem to believe that it could influence other schools to either continue to use this test or abandon them altogether.

A letter was sent to the governing board of the nine-campus system, where demands were made stating, “immediately stop this discriminatory practice or face a lawsuit.” 

The College Board spokesman, Zachary Goldberg responded to the letter and accusations by saying, “The notion that the SAT is discriminatory is false. Any objective measure of student achievement will shine a light on inequalities in our education system. Our focus, with our members and partners, is combating these long standing inequalities.”  

As the situation continues to be examined, it comes back to the question is the SAT and ACT really all that important anymore? The standardized tests are merely seen as important because college admissions require them. 

The use and accuracy of SAT and ACT scores has long been debated by families. It begs the question whether these standardized tests can determine how a student will perform academically in college? Or if they will be able to transition into the college level pace from high school?

According to the George Washington University (GWU) president, Thomas LeBlanc in response to the question whether the SAT is important as it claims to be able to predict the performance of a high school student transitioning to a college student, he says “We know what the best predictor of college performance is high school performance-not the SAT.” 

As he states, the application process for GWU changed to test-optional, meaning that it leaves the applicant the decision whether to include SAT or ACT results on the application. 

The Washington Post concluded with an interesting fact from FairTest, that warns those about the misuse and overuse of standardized tests. If you are a high school student, transfer student or graduate student and think your SAT results are good then submit them if you want to.

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