It’s Time To End Standardized Testing

“The digital SAT will be easier to take, easier to give, and more relevant.”

When College Board announced that the SAT would be going online, VP of College Readiness Assessment Priscilla Rodriguez released her statement about the updated exam. The SAT is going under severe changes–not only will it be online, but the test will be shorter, and all math questions will be calculator-active. But is this change a sign that testing will adapt to modern times or a warning that the SAT is growing obsolete? 

Students have long hated standardized tests, especially the SAT and ACT college entrance exams. Recent studies show learned that these exams cause student stress levels to skyrocket. Can we accurately measure intelligence and potential through a few hours of multiple-choice questions? Professionals say it isn’t possible. When you’re sitting in a crowded room, panicking while trying to complete hours of testing that determines your future, all you’re learning is stress management. You could get straight A’s in class and completely fail your SAT, making it a terrible indicator for colleges.

Not only are standardized tests stressful and inaccurate, but it’s also inherently unfair. Most students from lower-income families (often those of color) receive a different standard of education compared to those better off financially. These low-income students are already at a disadvantage, but many also can’t afford the tutors and lessons that higher-earning families can provide. And the SAT and ACT themselves have admissions fees, making the process inherently classist. 

Using standardized exams for college is an outdated system, and more and more schools recognize it as such. Currently, there are hundreds of test-optional colleges. However, removing tests as a requirement only makes the application process more competitive. Many students submit their scores anyways to try and get ahead. Now’s the time for the College Board and ACT to stop trying to adjust their tests and instead work to adjust application criteria. These exams are inaccurate, stress-inducing, and unfair for students. No amount of changes will make the SAT relevant again; instead, we need to focus on reforming the system.