It is only custom to dread the wretched SAT and everything it entails, from the early Saturday mornings to the 4 hour confinement in a hard plastic seat under blinding fluorescent lights.
Over one million high school students each year experience the nail-biting anxiety of taking the test, realizing that the resulting scores can arguably alter the whole course of their life.
But the question remains: in a society that holds dear these scores, what is the actual effectiveness of standardized tests like the SAT, and how accurately do they portray a student?
The SAT, originally standing for The Scholastic Aptitude Test, is a globally-recognized college admissions test, designed to give students a better understanding of what college is right for them, and to help admissions offices narrow down their pick of the bunch.
Many argue, however, that tests like the SAT do not provide an accurate image of the student as a whole and their capabilities.
The SAT is a rigidly timed and structured test, and set in a high pressure environment. This factor alone influences scores dramatically, as even bright and knowledgeable students may still not perform well. While subject matter varies in difficulty, some argue that the test determines test taking skills rather than knowledge of material.
“I feel like the SAT gives a wrong representation of the students. It’s more about filling in bubbles correctly and finishing in time rather than testing actual knowledge,” said Rachel Marthinsen.
Preparation opportunities and effectiveness also vary. Some are told not to prepare, while others spend hours pouring over practice tests and workbooks.
“Some people are tutored beforehand but a lot of students don’t have the time or money to have that advantage and prepare. I feel like the SAT tests your ability to memorize how to take a certain type of exam, not test you work ethic or natural talents,” said Kayleigh Ruller, a junior who took the test in October.
Environmental factors aside, the SAT only tests for the mere subjects of reading, writing, and math, not giving a well-rounded approach to students who may excel in other areas. The test’s standardization effectively generalizes and demeans those who take it, removing a face and replacing it with a set of scores that are used to deem one’s worth.
The human mind, being as diverse as it is, theoretically holds the capacities for different types of intelligence such as linguistic, logical, visual, and more. The SAT tests for only 2 of these 8 types of intelligence, leaving students outside of the box in the dust.
Failure to excel in standardized tests limits these students’ options for universities, ultimately affecting many aspects of their later life. The importance of these tests should be reevaluated considering their numerable downfalls and complications, so that students who do not fit into the regulations of standardized society can find success and reassurance.