Are Standardized Tests Actually More Harmful Than Helpful?

January 9, 2012
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“Alright class, I don’t want to put too much pressure on you but the test you are about to take is going to determine the rest of your life.” The pressures that have surrounded the SAT and ACT tests have been so harsh in determining college careers and the future of students that some students have even resorted to paying college students to take their tests for them. The Long Island cheating scandal has caused a big outburst of discussion about the students participating in the scandal, as well as the reasons the students may have stooped to that level to get a high score on their exams.
The requirements for most college acceptance depend mostly on the ACT/SAT score and the students’ GPA. This has put a huge burden on students to put in all of their time and academics into studying for one test that won’t do much except give colleges a reason to admit them or not. Personal essays that are admitted to colleges should be looked at more so that the college can get actual background information about the student and maybe have a better understanding on why the student didn’t succeed as well on the ACT as expected. Student Rachel Voznak, says, “…That is what is at stake when, come April, I take the ACT. I did not have an issue with taking standardized tests before, but now, as a junior in high school, it hit me that those hours locked in a room will determine my imminent opportunities. Many colleges focus on what score students receive on the standardized tests they take as juniors. Some will even discard an application if the score is not high enough. Seventeen is too young. It is too young to complete a test that predetermines my future.”
African-Americans and Hispanics get a boost on their score automatically solely based on their race. If this is needed, obviously the test is not a very accurate measure of one’s intelligence. People everywhere, no matter what race they may be, have tough living conditions, financial problems, and are put in poor schooling systems that may negatively impact how well they perform in school; the color of someone’s skin does not determine their intelligence.
The time that is spent preparing students for the exams could be used more wisely on teaching the students different aspects that will help them in the long run in terms of the careers they want to pursue and be helpful in college and their future. One idea that may work as an alternative to standardized testing is to set up a portfolio of the individuals’ high school career including the students GPA. The portfolio could include worksheets, assignments, written papers, volunteer work, and community service. This would not only show what the student is like outside of school and what they participate in during their free time, but it would also show what the student is like regularly in the classroom and not just during one test. Some people do not perform well during tests because of many obstacles; the time limit, the pressure, and the way that the test is formatted. This would greatly affect the outcome of the students score and most likely turn out to be not as well as they could have done.


"I came to the conclusion ... that No Child Left Behind has turned into a timetable for the destruction of American public education, I had never imagined that the test would someday be turned into a blunt instrument to close schools — or to say whether teachers are good teachers or not — because I always knew children's test scores are far more complicated than the way they're being received today." States Diane Ravitch is response to the No Child Left Behind Act.

Students in Long Island, New York have been charged with a cheating scandal during the SAT. The students paid between $500 and $3,600 to hire someone already in college to take their test for them so that they could get into their desired college without a doubt that they may not have “made the cut.” Although cheating is never morally right, the fact that these students went through all of that shows how badly they wanted to get into college but were afraid of not being able to score high enough and get rejected.
Another alternative would be to have evaluation tests every quarter or so in each subject which would be like a normal test. This would be much more beneficial because the score would not just be calculated from one sitting, it would show a variety in the students’ scores and averages throughout the year. Since it would be in a regular test format that the students are used to, it would be very beneficial and less stressful for the students. An alternative to the high importance of the ACT/SAT for admittance is very much needed; without it, students may continue participating in scandals or may not even get the opportunity to experience the future they had always dreamed of having.





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Smileyface123 said...
Feb. 10, 2016 at 9:53 am
"African-Americans and Hispanics get a boost on their score automatically solely based on their race." I'm struggling with how you came up with this. I am not an African-American or a Hispanic but would really like to know what source you used to come up with this.
 
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