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Is the SAT Useless? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


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Fall is a busy and stressful time for many high school seniors as they complete their college applications – gathering transcripts, teacher recommendations, and lists of extracurricular activities and awards, and sending them to colleges all over the country. The most nerve-wracking time for many, though, is waiting for their scores from the SAT, a test that has a tremendous impact on which schools will accept them.

SAT stands for Scholastic Aptitude Test. The ­majority of colleges require it as part of their admissions process. More than two million students each year take this three-hour standardized test, which supposedly measures ­verbal and mathematical reasoning. ­Although colleges look at applicants’ portfolios – including their GPA, class ranking, and special talents – SAT scores play a large role too. Many colleges will only accept students who ­attain a ­certain score for math and reading.

I believe that SAT tests should not be the most ­important criteria for acceptance into a school. Studies have shown that females scored lower on the SAT than males, but overall women have better grades in high school and college. This shows that these tests do not necessarily predict success in college. Most professionals agree that SAT tests do have some ­validity, but there is much debate on whether scores should be the main factor colleges use to choose their freshmen.

Another reason SAT tests are not a convincing ­predictor of academic success is that they are biased against minorities. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing, or Fair Test, believes that standardized tests like the SAT assume all test takers have backgrounds similar to white, middle-class students. This is certainly not the case. Fair Test seeks to eliminate the racial, class, gender, and cultural barriers to equal opportunity.

When applying to the University of Texas, students in the top 10 percent of their class do not need to submit SAT scores. These applicants had higher college GPAs than those who were not in the top 10 percent but had SAT scores 200 to 300 points higher. This demonstrates that these scores do not necessarily predict ­students’ performance.

My aunt received mediocre scores on her SAT tests. However, she graduated second in her class from Assumption College, went on to law school, and graduated in the top five of her class from Boston College. If the college had rejected her based on her SAT scores, they would have undoubtedly missed out on a superior student.

Most successful students must work very hard in high school to earn the best grades they can. Students who get extra help, study, and try their best are the ones who tend to get good grades. Their work ethic determines how well they will do in the future. Therefore, a better way to predict students’ college performance is by looking at their ­previous achievements and grades. If colleges focus more on the accomplishments of the four years of high school rather than one test, they will more ­accurately determine how well students will perform in college.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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This article has 6 comments. Post your own!

BenitaOconnor28 said...
Sept. 24, 2012 at 7:23 pm:
Do not enough money to buy some real estate? Worry no more, just because it is achievable to take the home loans to solve such kind of problems. Thence take a bank loan to buy all you want.
 
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Alix M. said...
Jan. 4, 2012 at 5:11 pm:
I have to disagree. I received a 1940 on the SAT, yet I still do not believe that they are useful. They are simply biased towards wealthy while male students... comparing the scores of whites with Latinos/African Americans along with comparing scores with socio-economic status shows this. While it's definitely a helpful way to compare students, I honestly believe that GPA, extracurricular activities, community involvement, course rigor, etc., are far more helpful (although harder to compare) way... (more »)
 
Alix M. replied...
Jan. 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm :
Also, while thousands of non-whites do well in standardized testing, there is a gap of about 360 points between students with a family income of less than 20,000 and students with a family income of 200,000. I must admit that this is undoubtedly due to better education, but College Board does offer the average SAT score for all races and both genders. I'm not trying to be disagreeable... I wrote four papers on this for my college class, so I do have pretty strong feelings about this. I am, howev... (more »)
 
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blues_are.still_blue said...
Mar. 1, 2011 at 11:19 pm:

From my experience, the people who generally say that the SATs are meaningless are those who didn't achieve the score they wanted. Have you ever met someone with a 2400 who told you that the SATs don't mean anything?

Just putting it out there.

 
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dule_91 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 31, 2009 at 1:29 am:
I totally agree with you! It can not measure our accomplishments, on the contrary, it can only make us stressful
 
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Fred said...
Apr. 2, 2009 at 12:32 pm:
Caitlin, you're right. SATs are hard and can be stressful. They are not the only or most important thing colleges look at. Schools look at all sorts of things like extra cirricular activities, GPA, class rank, AP courses, community involvement and more. Whoever told you the SAT caters to white middle-class students lied to you and it's an old story. If that were really true, it would be pretty hard to explain why hundreds of thousands of Latino, Asian-american, African-American and ot... (more »)
 
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