History Of The Act And Sat

2388 words - 10 pages

In the mid 1900s, the ACT and SAT became a college admission device in America that would carry on to the present day. For high school students, junior year becomes a maelstrom of chaos in taking advanced courses and preparing to take college entrance examinations. In all, it is extremely time consuming, as over 1.6 million juniors prepare for the ACT around the United States and nearly 7 million individuals around the world prepare for the SAT by spending weekends and free time studying for these standardized tests (“About Us”; “What We Do”). A student’s entire education is put to the test, and eventually converted into a number that is allegedly able to tell how successful he or she will be in his or her first year of college. One Saturday exam could decide a student’s fate in further education, but no pressure, right? When put to the test, extensive research shows that these tests are not all they are cracked up to be. ACT and SAT examinations are not an accurate measure of students’ aptitude for college and should no longer be a requirement for college admissions.
For starters, one example of standardized tests not being an accurate measure of students’ aptitude for college, students of higher income families tend to do much better than those who are not. Many researchers and research groups have found trends in household income linking to the success in standardized testing. Fair Test, an organization whose goal is to promote and achieve fair and open testing for all, conducted a study this past year which proves this point. Of all the college-bound seniors in the class of 2013 who had taken the SAT, scores increased almost proportionally to family income. Test takers in the lowest family income range of $0 to $20,000 had an average score of 1326 where test takers of the highest family income range of $200,000 or more averaged 1714 (“College Admissions Tests Show Test-Driven Schooling Failure”). From this research, it is clear that household income plays a large role in determining how well a student will do on standardized tests such as the SAT (See Appendix A). Although connections in high income and academic performance have remained a trend throughout the decades, higher income households can afford test preparation materials that lower income households cannot ("This House would abolish standardized tests for University Admission."). Parents are able to hire tutors to “coach” students on how to take the test, rather than using their own knowledge. Tutoring itself can raise the scores of students whose families can afford it, while those who cannot are left behind to try and use intuition and reason to solve standardized test questions. Tutoring adjunct test preparation materials can also greatly improve the results of a student’s test. These materials help to teach time management, types of questions that appear and how to approach them, along with other useful information. Lower income households, however, are at a disadvantage due to...

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