Standardized Test Scores And Their Use In College Admissions Decisions

1549 words - 6 pages

Standardized Test Scores and their use in College Admissions Decisions


The purpose of this proposal is to examine current and future Iowa State University admissions decisions processes. At the present time most colleges, including Iowa State use a combination of standardized test scores, high school class rank, high school grade point average, and essays to make decisions on admissions. All of the above are good determinants of a student’s possible success in college, except standardized test scores. Standardized tests discriminate against minorities and are not a good overall indicator of a student’s potential. For these reasons and others, Iowa State should not use standardized test scores when making admissions decisions.


Since America’s college system began, someone has had the responsibility of deciding who gets into a college and who does not. Colleges and universities must draw the line somewhere as to who has the opportunity to become more educated and who gets a full-time job at McDonald’s. This decision-making process has always been a difficult job and has become even more difficult in recent years as competition in higher education gets tougher. College admissions departments have come up with a system which combines indicators such as standardized test scores, high school class rank, grade point average, and essays. Different schools put different amounts of emphasis on these gauges but most use some mixture of them.

In recent years many schools have begun to put more emphasis on standardized test scores. Almost all college bound students now take entrance exams like the ACT or SAT. These tests supposedly indicate how "smart" a student is and how successful they would be in college. In actuality, these tests are not the best way to determine a student’s potential. These tests should not be used because they have been shown to discriminate against certain groups. They also put too much emphasis onto one test instead of a student’s entire education.


Colleges and universities such as Iowa State need ways to evaluate applying students which really show their potential as college students. A three hour-long test cannot reveal many traits of successful students. Qualities like good study habits, a positive self-concept, the ability to set goals, and real world knowledge are not shown in a test like the SAT (Fairness). Another problem with the SAT is that today so many preparation methods exist; the tests aren’t really a true showing of what a student knows. There are many companies who claim their product can be that miracle teacher that boosts a student’s score and get them into the college of their dreams. Should colleges really be base this large decision on knowledge that can be just "picked up" in four short weeks or an entire twelve-year education?

Schools need to find ways to evaluate students which do not discriminate on race, gender, or economic status. By using tests like the...

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