Few students will ever earn a 1600 or 36, a perfect score on the SAT or ACT, respectively.
Millions of high school students continue to take the college entrance exams, however, hoping to earn high enough scores for admission to a certain school.
The recommendation of the president of the University of California could end that tradition for students applying to state schools in California. Continuing to use the standardized tests is worthwhile.
Yes, standardized tests have their drawbacks. They measure only what a student was capable of that day the results mailed to each student show a span of indicated ability in addition to the actual score a student received.
Students who participate in the best, and often most costly preparatory programs can do better on the tests than students who do not prepare as specifically for the exam. This leads to allegations of economic discrimination; students who cannot pay for reviews, books and computer programs may not score as well as they could have, thereby disqualifying them for some admissions and scholarships they could benefit from.
But the SAT and ACT provide a national benchmark; every student in the nation, regardless of the school he has attended, answers the same questions. Colleges can have a basis of comparison, no matter if a student is from Sugarland or Mexia, Colorado or Massachusetts.
Students have the opportunity to take the test as many times as they wish, usually during the final two years of high school; the first score is not binding.
Grades may be a true indication of a student’s knowledge and ability, as opponents of the SAT argue Ð or they may not. Every school has its own system of evaluating work and figuring grade point averages; students in honors and Advanced Placement classes may get extra points, and elective credits can be unfairly weighted. Grade inflation cannot be monitored nationwide.
A standardized test should remain an integral part of every college’s admissions process. The weight a school chooses to give the test can vary, but the national standard must stand.