Worth more than a test

PV junior expresses her views on standardized testing


Kyle Levanduski

PV junior believes that standardized testing shouldn’t play a big role in deciding if a student gets into a certain college or not.

I sit in a crowded classroom with the PSAT test packet in front of me, the clock above me, and the time of the section on the board across from me. I will not finish in time, I think to myself as I feel my heart rate begin to rise. I re-read the passage in front of me as twenty minutes pass with 12 questions left.

The prompter announces “pencils down” as I look at the 12 unanswered questions and quickly shade in arbitrary answers before the test packets are collected. If I can not even complete the practice test, how will I finish the real test in a couple months?

Every year, thousands of juniors and seniors across the United States sit through standardized tests. Whether it is the ACT or SAT, the scores students earn on said test become a huge factor in determining which universities they get accepted into.

ACT stands for American College Testing and the SAT stands for the Scholastic Aptitude Test. Both state regulated tests are used to measure a student’s test taking ability for colleges to review. According to The Fiscal Times, the tutoring and test prep industry generates an average of $840.4 million every year and employs more than 115,000 people.

The test prep industry, in my opinion, is essentially a scam that generates its money off of society’s nature that believes individuals should achieve the same amount of or more success than their parents. This mentality leads to young teenagers over stressing, as many believe that the grade they receive on this test is one of the primary factors in college admissions. Teenagers feel that the test can determine the rest of their lives and the paths they follow in the future.

According to an annual survey published by the American Psychological Association, students say that their school-year stress levels are far higher than a healthy standard and their average reported stress is greater than that of adults.

However, standardized test scores are optional for some colleges while others claim to not take them into account, as it is an unnecessary burden on students who are already subjected to the the increasing workload of a high schooler.

In 2015, Hampshire College in Massachusetts abolished using SAT and ACT scores. This resulted in the applications having a higher quality, although fewer were accepted because the application process became more focused on writing essays. The student enrollment rate rose from 18 percent to 26 percent. Hampshire College fully stopped using the ACTs and SATs because the college officials felt the entrance exams are unfair to students from low income families.

A student’s worth should not be determined by one test, but by their accomplishments such as volunteer work or leadership roles. Student extracurriculars should be taken into account more than a score on one assessment. The leadership roles, the volunteer hours, and the community service work are all exceedingly more important than a number on one test.

While I do not think the idea of these standardized tests should be abolished, they should not play as big of a factor in determining whether or not a student is accepted into a school or not. A person’s worth should not be determined by a score on a four hour test, but rather the years of work they have done, such as their accomplishments and activities that they have devoted time and passion towards.