Standardized testing set up to fail

As high school students, we have to look past graduation and be prepared for the future. And in that future, there will be two paths to choose from: either starting a career, or going to college to continue education. With the latter route, being accepted to college is the first step. As part of their student admissions process, most colleges ask to be sent SAT or ACT test scores. Colleges use those scores to determine college readiness, as well as to measure current knowledge. 

However, numerous SAT test cancellations have occurred for the 2020 administration of tests due to the coronavirus pandemic. This caused problems for seniors and juniors planning to go to college, as test takers will be forced to compete for space at later dates. If room runs out, those prospective students would not have any scores to submit to colleges, drastically reducing their chances for admission. The University of Hawaii at Manoa has acted and will not be requiring test scores for their Fall 2021 applications. The University of California (UC) system will also not be using test scores as part of their Fall 2021 applications. The College Board, organizer of the SAT, has received scrutiny in the past due to tests favoring those with more resources to spend on preparation. Moving away from the College Board may also be beneficial for colleges and universities, who could customize their tests to be more suited for their expectations of their students. 

Depending on the circumstances of each school, creating a test may be beneficial for them. Ivy league schools and other universities with low acceptance rates might want to test applicants according to their standards. Encouraging and setting an example for other colleges or third-parties to develop a test. For the UC system, going test-optional is an opportunity to move away from standardized testing altogether, as they will be scrapping the required use of SAT and ACT scores starting in 2021. And by 2025 SAT and ACT test scores won’t be used entirely, although they are planning to develop a test by that time.

Most colleges won’t have the resources to develop their own tests, but one thing is certain: colleges aren’t focusing on test scores as their main source of information on their student’s applications anymore. Colleges now are looking at the student’s personality and mindset.

The SAT won’t go out of favor anytime soon, but its influence is decreasing. Less reliance on the SATs will likely increase the variety and change the focus of application criteria. Whether colleges move away from standardized tests completely will be seen in the future.

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