The Crier Wants to Know: are standardized tests necessary?
Standardized tests are a big part of high school as they provide a way for students across the country to be compared based on their scores. Many colleges have required students to submit an SAT or ACT score as an important part of the admissions process. These same colleges, however, chose to be test-optional this year as a result of the pandemic. This, of course, brings up a long-debated issue: are standardized tests necessary? The Crier wanted to know what juniors and seniors think.
Joyce Shim-Kim, ‘22
“I don’t think that students should be required to take the SAT specifically because it doesn’t accurately reflect student capabilities. There are a lot of other examples where there are outstanding students who have national ranks in Science Olympiad, math team, and debate team, but also have an average or even below-average SAT score. I actually did a research study on the SAT and there are a lot of examples where the students increased their SAT scores based on social-economic well-being. Thus, to a certain degree, it starts to depend on what resources you have access to in order to achieve the top scores. Private tutoring was found to be the most effective in doing so.”
Jakub Zywicki, ‘21
“I feel like standardized tests don’t tell the whole story in my opinion, like SATs for example. You can study all you want on SATs and standardized tests, but isn’t there more that you can know that should be more important for a specific career path? You could also be really smart in a field, but you could be a bad test taker.”
Ronit Anandani, ’22
“I think that standardized tests are imperative to understanding how a student measures amongst other students nationwide, especially since GPA inflation is common around some schools in the country. To properly understand how students measure academically, there’s the argument that a universal test should be used to properly measure academic performance amongst their peers. However, a standardized test doesn’t give a clear evaluation of a student’s academic performance, and some students that are not the best at test-taking face a disadvantage as their academic success isn’t able to be properly measured. Based on these views, I personally believe that a standardized test is necessary to keep a common ground for measuring academic performance, but it should not be used as a sole indicator of accessing a student’s capabilities. There’s also the factor that high-income students get an advantage in standardized testing since they are able to take the test multiple times because they can easily pay for it. Of course, Conant does a great job of accommodating students of all income levels, but it is significant when considering this is applied nationwide. Since some students are able to take the test more times than other students, those students that are able to take the test more times get a better chance of getting a higher score. In that case, the testing metric ends up being flawed and not everyone is tested equally. So while standardized testing makes sense in theory, in practice it ends up having multiple flaws in accessing students equally and in its current state shouldn’t be necessary.”
Rebecca Brenke-Laurentin, ‘21
“Standardized tests aren’t necessary. They disproportionately impact students with economic disadvantages and do not provide an accurate representation of the entire spectrum of a student’s learning abilities.”
Tim Kirby, Psychology and Social Science Survey teacher (no photo)
“I do think there’s some merit to standardized testing. It allows a greater understanding of levels of achievement and can consistently show a level of achievement. The negative part is that if they are used as a gauge to measure proficiency in the classroom, my fear is that everyone will turn their attention to getting better test scores rather than paying attention to the classroom environment. A lot of teachers might gear a lot of their lessons towards test preparation.”