Do Colleges Put Too Much Stock In Standardized Test Scores

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The society has come to develop a view that bright high school students are those who earn high scores on their ACT and SAT. The students are considered as the intelligent ones more than others and they are consequently given admission to only selected schools at the expense of students who get lower scores. Influential academic experts have provided a report with a recommendations that colleges should re-examine their rules of admissions and policies regarding aid and should consider admitting students without using the standardized test scores such as ACT and SAT.

Colleges have put too much emphasis on the significance of standardized test scores which seems to be beneficial for the affluent students only. High school counselors and other well respected experts in college admissions propose that colleges should shift to embrace providing students with tests that assess their knowledge regarding the subjects contained in the high school curriculum which include the tests for SAT subjects, International Baccalaureate exams, and Advanced Placement exams (The National Center for Fair and Open Testing, 2014).

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Even though the standardized tests are good indicators of those expected to perform well in the school education systems, it is not essential to forecast the future success of a student’s life. Regardless of that, colleges are still giving considerable attention to test scores weights during their admission process. Psychologists and academicians argue that the test scores are not recommended to predict the potential of the students. The academic knowledge of students cannot be the same, some students perform better in tests than others or they are more prepared than others. There are many different companies or even personal tutors in the area who offer a variety of ACT and SAT preparation classes enabling affluent students to stand a better chance of improving their scores. People might argue or believe that the students even buying the high scores they are getting (Ramirez, 2009).

Test scores do not depict the natural ability or potentiality of the student by the fact that several of them undergo the ADD/ADHD medication prior to taking their test. This is another way of indicating that test scores do not provide an accurate information on the capability of a student. The partnership for Drug-Free America conducted a study that discovered that one out of ten students in the middle age and also in the high school age used Ritalin and Adderall with no prescription. Even though there is no prove that using these drugs will make the students achieve a higher score during the tests, the drug’s nature is to intensify the level of concentration, alertness and also increase the speed of mental processing. Some students consider using such method as a stress free preparation alternative. However, the reality is that the use of medications that are not prescribed for use by anybody is one way of deceiving the system (The National Center for Fair and Open Testing, 2014).

The standardized tests do not indicate some of the student’s character traits and personal skills that are necessary in the success of the student. Student creativity, collaboration, vision, perseverance and self-discipline are some of the few key traits that are essential for one to be successful in the professional life. Such important qualities are not assessed by the standardized tests offered by colleges. A high score of the standardized test provide no useful information regarding the ability of the student to manage various challenges in life or their capability to live in a challenging professional environment in the society. Significant intangible aspects such as adaptability and perseverance are not assessed by the ACT and SAT. Attributes such as perseverance require hands-on experience training which is not provided in high school (Ramirez, 2009).

It is recommended that colleges should track the academic performance of the students such as the classes they enrolled, and how challenging the classes were, or an assessment of the extra-curricular activities which the student took part instead of the standardized test scores. This will enable colleges to concentrate and understand the student more as an individual.

  • Ramirez, Eddy. (2009). Report Says Test Scores Should Be Less Important in College Admissions: Colleges should review their policies and consider going test optional if possible. Retrieved 16 November 2014 from http://www.usnews.com/education/articles/2008/09/22/report-says-test-scores-should-be-less-important-in-college-admissions
  • The National Center for Fair and Open Testing. (2014). What’s Wrong With Standardized Tests? Retrieved 16 November 2014 from http://www.fairtest.org/facts/whatwron.htm

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