Colleges shouldn’t require standardized testing

March 11, 2021 2:17 PM

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Grey and white click pen on white printer paper with multiple choice test bubbles on it. Photo courtesy of Nguyen Dang Hoang Nhu on Unsplash.

Grey and white click pen on white printer paper with multiple choice test bubbles on it. Photo courtesy of Nguyen Dang Hoang Nhu on Unsplash.

Have you ever wondered why colleges require standardized testing? These tests have  been a topic discussed by many colleges. Some colleges don't require scores, or don’t even expect them. There have been many different views on standardized tests and if they even should be accepted. Community colleges such as Roxbury Community College, Bunker Hill Community College, Massachusetts Bay Community College and many more don't require standardized test scores for admissions. I think standardized testing shouldn't be required by colleges.

Many other aspects can show someone's academic readiness such as grade point averages, extracurriculars, interviews, and the rigorous courses that the student takes to determine college readiness. 

"I've been told by colleges that GPA is much more predictive than [standardized] test scores," Janet Rosier, a certified educational planner, told USNews

Students may attend many types of schools before college such as online school, public school, charter school or private school. These schools have different curriculums and different resources. Many would say that there should be standardized tests to evaluate college readiness specifically because many students had different curriculums. It is a good point, but there is inequality in resources shown in the scores. Standardized tests scores improve every time a student takes the exam, and tutoring and preparatory classes that aren’t available to all give students additional help. The resources, additional support and preparatory classes create an uneven field, so these exams are not a good way to evaluate all students. 

Standardized testing also doesn't show what students who take it know. It instead demonstrates how well students can test. The math portion of the SAT has a total of 58 questions and students have 80 minutes, which comes out to around 1 minute and 22 seconds per question. The reading portion of the SAT has an average of 1 minute 15 seconds per question, and the writing and language portion have an average of 47 seconds per question. This average time per question is short, more focused on time than testing what the students know. 

Mabel Chen, a 16-year-old student at Boston Latin Academy, talked about her experience with multiple-choice tests like the SAT and ACT that don't require the additional optional writing section. 

"Multiple choice takes little knowledge because you can have good test-taking skills,” she said. “It doesn't require you to think too much, and instead, people can rely on good test-taking skills. There are many skills that you would learn, like if you don't have enough time, you will just fill in all the questions. These are strategies and don't demonstrate what you know."

Some may say that standardized testing is needed because grading systems are different from school to school. That is correct, but teachers try to do the best work they can to educate their students, and states have curriculums to hold schools accountable. 

Rigorous courses show how the student is willing to take a harder course, and that demonstrates their readiness to take a college course. Interviews also show how ready students are and evaluate communication skills, which are important in considering one's college readiness. Extracurriculars also show that someone is interested in a topic and can manage to do both school and activities. These factors can show the college readiness of the student.

"If you are looking at someone, it should also be based on personality. Being in college shouldn't be just based on scores," Chen said. Students are told to ace standardized tests, and colleges usually list out the average SAT or ACT score of students attending the college. This usually many students stressed when they didn't get the score that colleges give as an average, and then they tend not to apply to those colleges. 

Many colleges worldwide have waived standardized testing due to the pandemic, and most colleges based the student's readiness on academic grades, recommendations, extracurriculars and sometimes interviews. 

Standardized testing shouldn't be required for applying to colleges; there is more important information to evaluate one's readiness than test scores. GPA, extracurriculars, interviews, and the courses taken should be used to evaluate college readiness instead.

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