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The Unfairness of The SATs
For months, they’re filled with stress, anxiety, fear,worry, and frustration.. When the big day comes, they wake up at the crack of dawn, eat a healthy breakfast, go to a small classroom with a couple of other teenagers, pick up their yellow, wooden pencils, and work as efficiently as they can. This big day, of course, is the SAT’s. As teenagers, we’re all going through this experience right now. Every year, millions of high school students are setting their goals, taking prep classes, and studying for this test, but it turns out that it’s extremely inaccurate when it comes to measuring a students intelligence.
This test claims to measure a student’s math, writing, and reading skills. In reality, it’s based on time management and how many test taking strategies a student knows. Just because a student can’t write an amazing essay in sixty minutes doesn’t mean that they are a poor writer. Just because a student can’t do twenty math problems in twenty five minutes doesn’t mean they don’t understand math.Even if you want to study in a field that has nothing to do with any of these subjects, you still need to get a high enough score to get into college. It doesn’t represent a student as a whole, in terms of intellect or talent.
This test was built so that some will pass while others will fail. Children whose parents don’t have a college degree tend to score lower. Statistics also prove that there are large race gaps in SAT scores. Blacks and latinos are scoring lower than average. In addition to race gaps, studies show that the SAT is based off how much income a student’s family has. Having more money means that you can afford more prep classes and study materials and tutors. The average cost of a tutor is $40 to $70 per hour. Access to these tools results in a higher score. By this logic, the SAT contradicts the American dream. This idea that you can start off with nothing and become a self-made person through education, ambition and hard work is almost impossible to achieve. The SAT makes it extremely difficult for a smart kid living in poverty to go an Ivy League School because they can’t afford test prep materials and classes.
Nowadays, more and more high schools are pushing students to go to college, but how can one be expected to get a higher education if their SAT score isn’t good enough? That score that comes out of 1600 can make or break a kid. The test that’s supposed to get kids into college is preventing them from going and having the career of their dreams. They can’t go on to become scientists that cure cancer and the engineers that build robots. So many merit based scholarships are based off an SAT score. Certain kids that couldn’t reach a high enough score because they didn’t have the tools can’t get the scholarships that they so desperately need to go to college.
The SAT is controlled by a corporation, the College Board. While they claim to be a nonprofit organization, they have been criticized for paying many of their employees high salaries. Their current CEO, David Coleman, had a starting salary of $750,000 in 2012. They want students to take the test multiple times so that they can make more money. They are taking advantage of innocent teenagers. It shouldn’t be acceptable that a huge testing corporation controls a child's future.
Even though this test is one of the most important factors that’s taken into consideration when applying to college, it’s an extremely inaccurate when it comes to measuring how successful one will be in college. Many students with low SAT scores have had great success in college. This test doesn’t even achieve its intended purpose.
Supporters of the SAT and other methods of standardized testing may argue that standardized testing is a key method in measuring the education performance of a school, town, county, state or nation, but how can be an valid assessment if some student are set up to fail? It can’t determine how well students in a specific area are doing in school if they have not had enough tutoring to learn the shortcuts and strategies that allow them to do the best on this test. People can’t make assumptions about the kids from a certain area based on one test. It’s like saying that you know everything single thing about a person you’ve known for a day.
More scholarships should be based off the student as a whole. More weight should be placed on extracurricular activities and community service. Dedicating time to helping people that aren’t as fortunate is equally as important as going to school. What kids do in their free time is what builds their values and makes them the person that they will introduce to the world one day. The only way for teens to find their passion is to go out into the world and create experiences. Taking a four hour test certainly won’t help their love for a subject blossom.
That number shouldn’t define what college you get into. That number shouldn’t define your future as a student. That number shouldn’t define how successful you’ll be in life.
In order for student to make this change, they need to write to college admissions offices, local politicians, to make the laws and policies that state that their dreams matter. Laws should be passed that state organizations like College Board can’t charge high fees to low-income students. Students should also write to colleges, asking them to look at their scores less and focus more on more accurate measures of their intelligence, such as G.P.A. and their essay. They have the power to force colleges to stop looking at numbers and start looking at children. Students have the power to use their voices to make change possible.
Goldfarb, Zachary A. “These Four Charts Show How the SAT Favors Rich, Educated Families.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 5 Mar. 2014, www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/03/05/these-four-charts-show-how-the-sat-favors-the-rich-educated-families/?utm_term=.43e86aa07dba.
“2018 Average SAT Tutor Cost (with Price Factors).” Thumbtack, www.thumbtack.com/p/sat-tutoring-cost.
“Pros and Cons of the SAT.” Magoosh High School Blog, 7 Nov. 2017, magoosh.com/hs/sat/2016/pros-cons-sat/.
Lopez, German. “Who Owns the SAT?” Vox, 27 Mar. 2014, www.vox.com/cards/sat/who-owns-sat.
Lewin, Tamar. “Backer of Common Core School Curriculum Is Chosen to Lead College Board.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 15 May 2012, www.nytimes.com/2012/05/16/education/david-coleman-to-lead-college-board.html.
Reeves, Richard V., and Dimitrios Halikias. “Race Gaps in SAT Scores Highlight Inequality and Hinder Upward Mobility.” Brookings, Brookings, 15 Aug. 2017, www.brookings.edu/research/race-gaps-in-sat-scores-highlight-inequality-and-hinder-upward-mobility/.
“Detailed 2017 Reports.” Detailed 2017 Reports – 2017 SAT Suite of Assessments Program Results – The College Board, reports.collegeboard.org/sat-suite-program-results/detailed-2017-reports.