A Modest Proposal to High Schools & Colleges Concerning Standardized Tests

October 24, 2017
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It is a tough thought for some teenagers to imagine the idea of more tests on top of the already rigorous schoolwork. Early on Saturday mornings, one can see the procession of kids entering high schools across the country to put themselves through five hours of gruelling testing. All of this nightmarish workload is completed just for the opportunity to attend a college of some recognition and ultimately gain a job in the workforce.
I think it can be agreed by all students that nobody enjoys the ludicrous amount of extra studying that is brought with these tests. It is only an added stress to an already tumultuous time of a young person’s life, and the modification of the standardized test should be seen as an important chapter in academic history. With a simple change to the identity of the test, students would be efficiently and effectively evaluated with little weight put on their shoulders.


According to my research, “over 2 million students take the SAT every year” (Page). With that being said, “The American Psychological Association’s annual Stress in America survey reported 31 percent of teens feeling overwhelmed...pointing to school and school-related activities as a key cause” (Page).  According to my calculations and the given statistics, over 620,000 students taking the SAT feel unhealthy levels of stress and anxiety, with test preparation likely being one of the main contributors.


Having mulled over the idea for the best part of a few years, the advancement of the common standardized test is no more a magical illusion. It seems impractical, and rather unproductive, for children to be endlessly hunched over books and spiraling into stress over the haunting presence of such standardized tests. Also, it is counterproductive to take the results of a “student’s performance on one particular day” as it “ does not take into account external factors” (“Pros and Cons of Standardized Testing” 1). For example, “[i]f a student has an argument with their parents the morning of the test, chances are their focus isn’t going to be where it should be” (“Pros and Cons of Standardized Testing” 1).


I propose, having witnessed the dire situation of high school students myself, a new form of testing. Consistent with modern values, children will now be evaluated based solely on their looks and appearance. It is public knowledge that one’s appearance is the true determinant of how they are viewed in society, so it seems only fair-minded and righteous to evaluate students in this manner.


For the test, a student would simply step before an adjudicator, who would be pre-determined similarly to jury duty, and said adjudicator would give them a score out of 1000 based on a one minute evaluation. The evaluation would entail a quick glance up and down, evaluating factors such as hairstyle, weight, branded and trendy clothes, clear skin, posture, appropriate bodily proportions, and more. The quick process eliminates the unnecessary stress of studying for exams and is more relevant to a student’s future than standardized testing. While test scores will eventually be forgotten, the appearance evaluation prepares the student for success after high school, as a person’s look and appearance are what society truly values.


I have spoken with an expert on the matter, a popular high school senior, Kaitlyn Wessels, whose knowledgeable opinion and personal experience with standardized testing offers great support for my proposal. By describing standardized testing as “an unnecessary stressor” in a student’s life, she firmly believes that my solution would prove to be most beneficial, as students must have time for “more important obligations” such as extracurricular activities, family events, and maintaining a job (Wessels).  I think most students, stressed by their impending test dates, would recognize the obvious benefits of the solution I have offered.


For first, the appearance evaluation test allows students to preview how they will really be viewed in society. Individuals are constantly being evaluated based on appearance, and current test scores are faulty indicators of future success that deceive students about their abilities. In reality, the highest earning jobs in society are based off of looks. For example, Gisele Bundchen, the highest paid model, earns millions more than almost all senior career positions.


Secondly, instead of spending an absolute fortune to take standardized tests and exhausting parents’ bank accounts, funds can now be put into buying trendy clothes from name brands. This will not only raise a student’s score on the appearance evaluation, but will also provide them with an opportunity to obtain necessary clothing items in order to succeed after high school.


Thirdly, the test scores of the appearance evaluation will have lifelong relevancy. While it is highly unlikely that in the future, an employer will ask to see SAT or ACT test scores, they will consider your appearance evaluation score, a much better indicator of one’s performance in a specific job - a slightly important factor considering this is how one will make a living.


Fourthly, the appearance evaluation score will become the only determinant of college entrance. This eliminates immeasurable amounts of untold stress from struggling, depressed students during the college application process that would otherwise push them to the very limit of their minds. The evaluation would replace any college admittance tests and would become the sole attribute colleges would focus on concerning acceptance. 
Fifthly, every student would be placed in an appropriate college based on their appearance evaluation. From their scores, each student would be offered a selection of colleges to choose from that fit their qualifications. This way, everyone would have equal opportunity to an education that matches their specific abilities, and college students will be able to become acquainted with those similar in appearance to themselves.


Sixthly, if a student scores low on the appearance evaluation, unlike the brilliantly helpful ACT or SAT, they would be provided with additional resources and suggestions for improvement. While said students would still only be offered admittance to the certain colleges that matched their score level, assistance and advice for improving their appearance would benefit them later in life and increase their chances of success.


I can think of hardly any reasonable objections to my proposal, unless someone were to suggest that looks get people nowhere and that the world would be in shambles if intelligent people were not filtered to receive the best education. Even then, the most powerful people in the world today are no longer the smartest, but the best looking. An example being the Kardashians, who are able to influence millions of people purely based on their looks. In today’s society, a person’s look and appearance grants them opportunity to lead and influence others. With these factors being considered, no one may reasonably come to me with the other solutions: Of making standardized tests optional for college acceptance: Of eliminating testing fees from SAT and ACT exams: Of offering prep courses for standardized tests free of charge during school hours: Of setting designated dates and times for students to take standardized tests during the school day: Of developing shorter, more concise SAT and ACT exams: Of creating greater opportunity for students to demonstrate their personality and true self through college applications. Lastly, of placing a higher weight on a student’s GPA in the college admissions process, as it reflects a more holistic representation of a student’s academic performance.


As most all people would agree with the advantages of my proposal, I struggle to think of any other solution that would improve standardized testing in such a way that offers similar benefits for students. I wish to gain nothing from this development of education, other than to witness the improvement of the standardized testing system and the betterment of the life of every teenager to come through the U.S. school system. I have already taken the daunting SAT and ACT and have gotten into college, consequently I can gain nothing from the improvement of the standardized testing system.






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