SAT unfairly compares students’ aptitude

By Gisselle Washington | Big Stick Editor |

At the height of conversations around the legitimacy of college admissions, advocacy groups and a California school district sued the University of California for requiring sat/act tests for admissions. More than 7.8 million students took the SAT or PSAT in 2018 and the numbers keep rising year after year according to College Board, the issuers of the test. The SAT should not be a qualifier or factor in the college admissions process.

The SAT, or Scholastic Aptitude Test, avoids testing material learned in school and leans toward testing IQ-like questions to be mastered after 40 hrs of practice (or more). I’ve sat through countless college presentations and listened to many admissions officers and although they say the test is not a major factor in a college decision, it is a way to distinguish yourself from similar applicants of your background. The SAT only tests you on how to master the SAT. Colleges should lean more on teacher letters of recommendation and performance in school to get a better picture of who a student is to decide admission. 

Second, I believe the test discriminates against people in less fortunate circumstances who may not be able to afford taking multiple tests outside of the two offered in the fee waiver or SAT tutors. Many families of more affluent backgrounds are willing to pay for their child’s test prep through extensive online courses, and their children receive higher scores. College admissions are not offering equal opportunity to all students if they are admitting students who perform well from select backgrounds. 

Some argue that the SAT allows all students to have the same individual test, therefore making it easier to compare other students. I believe that students should be compared to how well they fare in their school. A college can tell how a student ranks among their school peers and if they’ve made a difference or contributed in their school. Students won’t have to worry about their school having less resources than others. 

The SAT doesn’t test a student’s ability to critically think or problem solve and therefore doesn’t warrant its respectability as a standardized assessment. It’s a waste for students to stress over these scores when they can focus more on school and their extracurricular activities.