For as long as students can remember, they have been encouraged to take State Tests, PSAT, SAT, ACT, and AP Exams. A majority of kids have to take standardized tests with the exception of a few students who opt out of them.
We are told that to get into college we need to either take the PSAT and SAT or the ACT instead. Colleges and universities will look at the scores obtained by applicants in these exams, which seriously affect their admission decision.
But what about the students who do not learn by memorization? Or, the students who are bad test takers? Not all students can show their knowledge through taking tests and exams, especially when they can dictate their future.
Due to Covid-19, the graduating class of 2021 has an advantage when it comes to applying to colleges. Most colleges or universities made their admissions test optional for this year’s graduates. This is because so many tests were cancelled due to restrictions and the Stay at Home order.
The irony of the Coronavirus is that it forced colleges into giving students a fair playing field. Two students may have the exact same GPA, taken the same courses throughout high school, had the same extracurricular activities, but if one student scored higher than the other on a single test, they could be accepted/ rejected from the same school.
Making the tests optional allows students to submit test scores if they liked the score they received, but does not require every student applying to take the SAT or ACT. Colleges assure students that those who do not submit test scores will not be judged unfairly since admissions offices are focusing on other aspects of students’ applications.
If colleges decide to go test optional, students will also be saving money. The PSAT, SAT, and ACT all cost money to take and when students retake the tests it costs more money. According to College Board, the SAT costs $52 and the SAT with the essay costs $68 for the 2020-2021 school year.
Requiring these tests to be taken to get into most colleges and universities puts many low income students at a disadvantage. Many students cannot afford elaborate test prep books, classes, or tutors to better their chances of getting a high score. Other students have access to all of these resources, which almost guarantees they will get a higher score than the students who cannot afford study materials.
Some universities have already announced that the class of 2022 will also have test optional admissions. But this is only a few of the thousands of universities in the country. Have they only chosen to do this because we are still in the middle of a pandemic? Colleges should choose to be test optional from here on out, not just temporarily due to the circumstances.
Standardized testing should continue to be test optional for pursuing an education after high school. Standardized tests do not accurately measure every student’s knowledge and they have way too much power over students’ futures.