Every college student remembers the scary days of SATs and college applications – all of the stress, preparation, and practice that amounted to sitting for 3 hours and 45 minutes. That one test seemed to define all of our chances of getting into college. All of our hopes and dreams rode on the back of whether we got a score that was high enough for the college that we wanted.
The LA Times has reported that Harvard, along with at least 50 other colleges, wants to make the SAT and other standardized tests worthless in the overall process of choosing applicants. The colleges believe that the application should be more focused on community service and plans for making the world a better place rather than a number that supposedly shows someone’s intelligence.
It has been researched by Principal Investigator William C. Hiss and discovered that in actuality, there is no true correlation between SAT score and graduation rate or college GPA. All the SAT truly proves is that we can sit in a classroom and fill in bubbles for what seems like a very, very long time.
One of the biggest arguments against the SAT is that it is biased towards richer people who can afford the resources to help them score better. Also, because it tests more developed language skills, affluent children who have grown up around more educated parents tend to score higher. This puts a disadvantage on students who are not wealthy enough to be able to afford the resources such as prep books and classes, and who have not had a similar environment to grow up in.
These resources are important to individuals taking the test, because the best way to succeed is to practice the test several times and memorize tips and tricks for how to get the right answer. It is more about the actual test format itself rather than the information that it contains. The test does not do well at actually measuring the knowledge that a person has in various subjects.
There are also other life lessons and skills that are not covered on the SAT. Some students have learned through jobs, extracurriculars, and outside activities that they have specific qualities that can help them make a difference in the world. These activities have helped students find a passion in their community. This is something that is vital to their success in college, yet is completely missed by the SAT.
The College Board has realized some of these issues and has created an entirely new test in the hopes of making it better in the eyes of the students and the colleges that the previous version was against. This version, though is causing both students, colleges, and SAT prep people more stress. For more information on the new version of the SAT, you can check out this article by The Harvard Crimson.
The SAT might do more harm than good for the average college hopeful. Unfortunately for those of us in college, we still have the nightmares of the SAT, but there is hope that the future generations of college students can be spared the same 3 hour and 45 minute torture that we all endured.
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