By Kyle Rindt
Imagine a test in which your entire life depends on. Getting a high score would ensure success for life, while if you get a bad score then the person will be unsuccessful for years and decades to come? These are the thoughts that are going through millions of high schoolers’ minds all because of two tests: the ACT and SAT. These tests are weighted heavily for many colleges all across the United States and they serve no purpose. The ACT and SAT stress students out and the test scores typically do not reflect the student’s abilities at all.
From the time a student starts high school, they have all heard the same 3-letter acronyms, ACT or SAT. In many cases, they hear both. Parents spend an unimaginable amount of money on making sure their kids get a good score on these tests. From classes to one-on-one tutors, a good score on this test could result in hundreds, if not in some cases, thousands of dollars for no purpose but to intimidate students.
To put a fine point on this argument, the SAT and ACT should never be administered to students because of one simple reason: they do not reflect the capabilities and potentials that a student has. Many students can do in-class work and write papers and revise 100 percent on all of these assignments but not on tests. We have all heard it from our friends over and over again, “I choked,” “I know what it is but I just can’t put it into words,” “I would have gotten 100 percent if the question was reworded.” There are many other scenarios that students use to deflect their bad test grades. But students have to come up with all these different phrases to tell their friends so they don’t seem “dumb,” but you only have to say one keyword to describe why they got this low score, stress. Sadly in 2017, about two million high school students took the SAT and about 1.7 million students took the ACT. In the United States, there will be 3.9 million students graduating this year from high school. Meaning that 97 percent of students will take this timely, exhausting, and stressful test which serves no academic purpose other than anxiety and lack of sleep.
As students in the American education system, we have been drilled for years about the importance of tests and quizzes, but what if we were to change this unsuccessful policy and look at just one indicator that is more essential than anything else: a student’s GPA. This policy of “tests are the only thing that matters” has been the same since our parents were our age and it simply does not work. A recent study by Harvard found that “The number of time students spends on testing and the high-stakes nature of these exams likely contribute to the stress students experience around standardized testing.”
What we need to do is to stop the ACT and SAT and look at student GPA. This is a much better solution because students’ GPAs have been accumulating over the past four years, which means eight semesters of a student’s work and grades. GPA gives colleges a broader spectrum of what the student has been working on these four years and what they can do in the future, as well as what they have accomplished in their high school years. This policy would also give students lower stress rates because their GPA does not happen all at once. It’s accumulative. Students could work on bringing up their GPA over years, not through just expensive tutoring lessons and countless hours of studying.
As demonstrated throughout this article the ACT and SAT serve no purpose for students. These useless standardized tests give no real indicators of a student’s educational potential. Furthermore, the ACT and SAT should be completely eliminated from college applications and students’ minds.