Are Standardized Tests REALLY Necessary?

Viktoriya Vassileva

Chinaza Agbim, Staff Writer

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Every school year, High School students in 12th grade begin the long, tedious college application filled with its numerous essays and very detailed questions about a student’s personal life, family, education, and other things. Many seniors rush to finish their SAT and ACT testing requirements within the first few months of the school year, and this adds to the problem. Standardized tests also do not accurately measure a student’s intelligence, and many students agree with that point. This brings up the question, are standardized test essential?

There are two major college admission tests, the SAT and the ACT. Colleges will take either test, and both tests come with an optional writing portion. That is about where the commonalities end in regards to the two tests. Students can take the SAT after a student has passed algebra 2. On the other hand, the ACT is much more fast paced. Students know enough to take the ACT after completing pre-calculus, as well as high school level biology, chemistry, and physics.

Many colleges also ask students submitting the SAT to take SAT subject tests. These tests are smaller versions of the SAT specified in one subject. Many colleges ask students taking the SAT to submit subject tests as well because the SAT does not have a science section, and the level of each subject it covers is somewhat elementary. The test cannot accurately measure a student’s intelligence because a student can obtain a very high score by merely taking a large amount of practice test and analyzing where the student made mistakes. The test comes down to the number of times a student takes practice tests and improves his strategy rather than how much information a student knows. There are numerous cases where students at the top of their class have scored very low on the SAT. These students aren’t dumb, but because the test is more about repetition rather than knowledge, they did not score as high as someone with their level of intelligence should.

Chinaza Agbim
Ishan Chadha expressing his view point on the current SAT and ACT.

This strategy is the same for the ACT. Although the ACT tests a higher level of each subject, the test is still primarily focused on strategy, timing, and repetition rather than actual knowledge. When asked if standardized tests are necessary, Vicky Vassileva, a senior at Wheeler High School replied, “No, they shouldn’t be necessary because standardized tests do not measure a person’s intelligence. Some brilliant people aren’t good at standardized tests, so these are bad indicators of knowledge and intellect.” Another senior at Wheeler High School, Ishan Chadha , replied to the question saying “These tests are not necessary because they have a standard curve and are similar to GPA in the sense that scoring varies from test to test.”

Although the exact steps to change the exams are not known, many students agree these exams need to be adjusted to represent a student’s intellectual capacity more accurately. Liza Wolfson believes that “Simply testing students uniformly does not necessarily distinguish better students. Everybody is different; some people are natural test takers while others aren’t. All in all, these tests are necessary, but should be changed to be fairer.” These changes may come in the form of testing different subjects at the level of each student to see how he or she performs compared to peers at their level. They could also come in the form of extending the testing process to a series of days to avoid students stressing out or becoming frustrated on test day itself. Students can agree that the ACT and SAT are necessary, but should test makers must change them one way or another to be a more accurate representation of an individual’s knowledge.