The world is progressing at the speed of light and this is the fact which creates an urgency to measure everything. And when it comes to that, education is not an exception. It has been the continual effort of both the facilitators and the followers of the education system to gauge the level of excellence of a student. In an attempt to do so more accurately, the SAT and the ACT tests came into being. However, the implementation of these tests has been questioned many a times and their credibility is not vouched for unanimously. This report comprises of some key points which elucidates the futility of these tests and therefore supports the motion that these tests should either be banned or their methods must be changed.
Thesis Statement: This paper pertains to the view that the ACT and SAT tests should be banned and it comprises of relevant and supporting evidence which has been collected from various sources and cited accordingly.
The SAT and ACT tests have been designed for the specific purpose of gauging a student’s eligibility, or ability, to pursue his/her academic courses of studies. These tests act as a preliminary screening ground for educational institutions like colleges and universities, and the scores earned in these tests are considered to be the perfect pedestal from where a student can judge his/her own performance and let others judge it too. The initial concept of these tests was to eliminate the discrepancies which arise owing to various factors amongst students and to judge every candidate on the basis of some common attributes and efficacy level. However, it is very unfortunate to notice that these tests are not living up to their standards are not being able to act as a valid and credible means of assessment. There are various reasons as to why the credibility of a standard procedure is being questioned so vehemently by students and teachers alike and some of these reasons are discussed herewith.
The tests do not measure progress:
The first concern that the upholders of education have towards these tests is that they do not measure the actual, or rather, the factual, progress of a student. They argue that since education is not an overnight process and it includes several years of dedication and talent, these tests are incapable of judging a student’s academic progress by their “one day” assessment. The limited scope of judging the academic credibility of a student on the basis of SAT scores has been realized by many universities in the recent past. For instance, in the year 1970, Bowdoin College made it clear that they would no longer judge students on the basis of their SAT scores but would do that on the basis of their overall performance in their respective fields of study in their respective institutions (The SAT Optional Movement: Causes and Effects of No Longer Requiring the SAT | Educ 300: Education Reform, Past and Present). Since the tests have proved that they are not capable of fully assessing the potential of a student, the credibility of such tests have diminished so much so that now they are on the verge of being eliminated completely.
Manipulation of Scores:
It has also been found out that the most coveted SAT and ACT scores are seldom the genuine outcomes of a student’s application of knowledge. Many teachers have admitted that owing to continual pressure from the institutions, parents and students, there have been times when in order to deal with the risk of losing funds for the institution, they have had to manipulate scores. The purpose of these tests is to gauge the academic credibility of the student, but somehow, they are being used to calculate the worthiness of an institute. And this in turn affects the funds which are attributed to each institution and in order to retain a steady flow if it, many teachers and bearers of the educational system have admitted to the fact that scores are intentionally falsified at times. This is a serious case of futility of purpose and it acts as a strong ground for those who are in support of the argument that these tests should be banned.
Other factors that add to the argument:
Apart from the points mentioned above, there are several other factors which mar the reputation of these tests. First, the validity of the questions that comprise of the test is often questioned by professors and teachers owing to the tricky vocabulary that is being used (5 Reasons We Should Eliminate the SAT). Many teachers have reportedly accepted the fact that the questions which are asked in these tests are often irrelevant for the purpose of knowledge and learning. They are simply there to judge if the student is clever enough to pick the right answer with the help of simple logic or by sheer chance. These tests are being known for facilitating a “game of chances” instead of a test of skill. Second, the concern which most teachers have pertaining to these tests is that the method of teaching that is required for making a student prepare for these tests is not at all favorable for the classroom environment. In order to score well in these tests, students are expected to find out the correct answers from a series of possible options and this somehow forces the students to try their wits instead of applying their knowledge. However, as the upholders of education and learning will agree, that learning is an ongoing process which requires one to know, understand and implement correctly. Learning cannot be accomplished by a battle of wits. To make matter worse, there is a timer which is set at the time of the tests and this makes the students more vulnerable and eager to complete the paper without fully understanding the topics that are included in it. At the time of the test, the students are least bothered about their own knowledge or the things they will get to learn if they manage to grasp a seat in their preferred colleges and universities. At this point in time, all that matters is the selection of the correct option and the timer which refuses to halt. Third, the process of retaking these tests are not feasible owing to the fact that they are either too cumbersome or too expensive for most students, and to top it all, retaking a test does not solve the initial concern of its questionable credibility and validity.
Based on the concerns addressed in this paper, it would not be incorrect to conclude that the SAT and ACT tests should either be modified or banned altogether as they do not serve the purpose of facilitating the process of learning for students. Since their credibility has been put to question, many people have come together in an attempt to abolish such tests. It is true that these tests cannot be obliterated entirely, as there would still be some institutions that would willingly follow the norm, but it certainly does not imply that nothing can be done. It would indeed be enlightening and effective if people start sharing their own views, opinions and experiences about these tests so that the loopholes can be brought to light and either are fixed or abolished completely.
1) "The SAT Optional Movement: Causes and Effects of No Longer Requiring the SAT | Educ 300: Education Reform, Past and Present." Commons.trincoll.edu, 2014. Web. 22 Feb 2014. <http://commons.trincoll.edu/edreform/2012/05/the-sat-optional-movement-causes-and-effects-of-no-longer-requiring-the-sat/>.
2) "5 Reasons We Should Eliminate the SAT." PolicyMic, 2013. Web. 22 Feb 2014. <http://www.policymic.com/articles/33787/5-reasons-we-should-eliminate-the-sat>.