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The SAT and College Apps

Posted by: Mark Putney | November 20, 2013 | 1 Comment |


It’s worshiped and feared at the same time, but nevertheless, the SAT is a staple component in college applications. It’s a process where students flock to their testing centers, usually early on a Saturday morning, and spend the next five hours of their life filling in circles with a #2 pencil. The majority of students will repeat these steps multiple times, while on the hunt for the perfect score that will admit them to their dream school. But is the SAT really necessary?

I took the SAT. It’s not absolutely terrible, but it’s not an enjoyable experience either. Recently I just sent off my scores to colleges, and ironically just a short time afterwards, I stumbled upon The Case Against the SAT.

The article argues that the SAT isn’t a reasonable factor in determining the success of a student at a specific school. Before reading it I already thought that this was true, and that College Board just wanted to drain the wallets of suffering of students. As it turns out, there are many arguments out there that further validate the opinions of not only me, but thousands of other aggravated students.

The author, Thomas Rochon, has “lived the experience from both sides.” He was once a student who was victimized by the SAT, but later in life he would become a proponent of standardized testing.

As the president of Ithaca College, and familiar with the flaws of the SAT, Rochon eliminated the requirement of the SAT from the school’s application.

What was the outcome?

More students applied and enrolled, creating a larger cash flow into the school, while also making it a more diverse community of students.

College applications are daunting enough, but when schools demand submitting the SAT or ACT, many students with less that stellar scores find themselves intimidated, and thus are more likely to refrain from applying to that school at all. In reality, there’s a strong chance that those students would find successful at that school, but because the SAT says otherwise, they will go through life with that “what if?” looming in the back of their mind.

The Debate on Ending SAT Gains Ground reinforces the idea that the SAT is an unbalanced system by arguing that the test is geared towards aiding only the wealthy students.

College Board profits around $500 million each year on testing; though this “non-profit” organization pays multiple executive individuals well into the six digit range.

I always thought these tests were supposed to aid the student- not add to their stress by financially binding them. Ultimately it’s money that makes the world go round. The SAT and ACT are each $50 a pop.

For many, including me, there’s no ignoring the realization that to pay $50 to take a test is robbery at its finest. There are families in the world that struggle to put food on the table each night, and when they try use education to break out their depression, they are only pushed back down by the costs of these tests. It doesn’t end there, though. There’s also studying for the test, which the SAT itself recommends, that can cost northward of $150.

As far as I’m concerned, standardized testing is the world’s greatest con. It’s as if a group of capitalist crooks developed a test, made it critical to the future of millions, and took advantage of the innocent student in order to build their monetary empire.

Like everything, nothing is perfect. College applications strive to give each student an equal chance of being admitted, but they do fall short with the SAT. At the end of the day, the world will keep spinning, and tests will still be taken. Change is calling, though, and it’s time to shed light on the inefficiencies that plague our educational system.

under: Opinion

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I would like to share one of the most interesting articles that I’ve read on the SAT (and the changes made to it nearly a decade ago). Here it is: http://www.economist.com/node/3739498

There was a time in US History that the SAT exam was used for good. Unfortunately, the revised SAT exam (particularly the mathematics portion) is more of an achievement test than an aptitude test.

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