From the archive: Stressful Studying
A look into the disadvantages of preparing and taking the ACT & SAT
November 10, 2020
With colleges becoming test-optional, we take a look back into why the ACT and SAT are not the best way to measure someone’s potential in the work world. **
When it’s time for high school students to start preparing for the ACT or SAT, some may describe the process building up to the test as very stressful and rough. Some see it as an opportunity to show colleges all that they have to offer and others dread the idea of even studying for the tests themselves.
The idea is that standardized testing is not an effective way to test a person’s intelligence and does not display a student’s full potential in the real work world.
Lots of colleges are shifting away from utilizing standardized tests to get a full understanding of a student’s capabilities. Tests like the ACT and SAT have almost forced schools to focus their curriculum mainly around only what those tests cover. For example, on a practice ACT test, a student may come across a lot of the curriculum they have learned in math class on the math section. This makes for a poor learning experience for students and make it hard to memorize things they are taught. Also, some students are just poor test-takers. No matter how much they study, something like anxiety or a weak home life can only harm a students score on the ACT and or SAT.
Another factor that goes into the effectiveness of standardized testing are people’s financial backgrounds. Some students may be exposed to better resources while others may not have the ability to afford the best prep booklets and tutors. It does not make for a level playing field and puts students with a weak financial background at a disadvantage. Some students may not even be able to afford to take the test multiple times. That, added on top of the fact that they do not have the best resources, makes the margin for error on the ACT and SAT much more smaller and could result in an even lower test scores that come from levels of stress.
Standardized testing also can result in only focusing on just one test score for evaluation. It does not take reflect on the possibility of a student making major improvements and growing from taking the test once and taking it another time. To add on, if a student were to do poorly the first time they take the ACT or SAT, it could majorly impact their confidence and hinder their preparation process to take the test again.
In order to make standardized testing more effective, changes need to be made within the build up to it and to and within the tests themselves. That being said, things such as additional time per section and the ability to take just an individual section have been implemented. However, the tests scores should not be the only thing out there that reflects a students potential and could lead to a more judgmental approach by colleges during the admission process for students.
With all this being said, standardized tests are not the best possible way to measure a students full potential in the work world. There is so much more than a little composite score that make up who a person is.