Recently in my speech class, we were asked to create a speech based on several debate topics. The one I found most interesting discussed the usage of the SAT and ACT in consideration of undergraduate applications. As we all know the SAT and ACT determine how much one gets in scholarship money and what options they get for college. However is this testing system still relevant, or is it time for a change.
There are a few flaws in this system such as a money gap between low and high-income students and the amount of stress the tests put on them.
Education starts very early in life. From a young age, higher-income students have had more experiences that give them a strong base in education, such as going to a children’s museum or the zoo. Low-income students due to financial circumstances may not be given this opportunity, thus affecting them later in life. It has been proven that students from low-income families do worse than their wealthier peers. In order to score well on a test, students must have a stable household. Being poor leads to problems that can affect a student’s score, such as not eating well before taking a test. Also, low-income students are at a disadvantage due to the fact that the wealthy can take the test multiple times. The SAT and ACT cost money, and some people only get one shot. As opposed to others more fortunate that can improve on their test scores by taking the test over as many times as they please.
The amount of stress put on students is immense. Especially students living in unstable households. The added stress of the test just makes it so much harder on the student’s mind and body. Teachers have reported students getting sick and upset over the tests. Students have a lot to worry about already, with school, relationships, work, and home life adding more stress on that may not be the best choice. The SAT and ACT may not be an accurate measurement in student’s academic knowledge for those struggling with test anxiety. When someone’s anxiety flares up it causes them to enter fight or flight mode. This state of mind causes it to cloud out critical test information. Thus one does not get a true reading of the student’s knowledge
Some smaller schools have realized this and are now considered test free. Instead of using the SAT and ACT schools have opted to use one on one interviews or portfolios that the students put together as the “entrance exam” Also schools have created their own entrance exams as an alternative to the SAT and ACT
That being said the SAT and ACT are a good way to measure everyone at once. As well as homeschool and religious school students who may not be measured as often. Also going off of GPA alone may not be enough to prove college readiness and A in Idaho may not hold the same weight as an A in Nebraska.
Now my questions for you guys are, what is your opinion on the SAT and ACT? Do you think that we should keep this system or replace it? If so what could we put in place besides standardized tests? Lastly, what do you think about test free schools?