Standardized Test Scores- Do they matter?

The SAT is a standardized test that is used by most colleges and universities within the United States to determine whether or not a student will be admitted. SAT’s were started in the year 1926. SAT scores range from a 400-1600 and they are composed of writing, critical reading, and mathematics. The ACT is a standardized test that is also used for college admissions; however, it also includes science reasoning. ACT scores range from a 12-31. Typically, students pick between the ACT or the SAT and the decision is usually made by practice test scores. 

A question commonly asked by most students, teachers, and parents is – Do standardized test scores matter? Well, 60% of colleges in the United States argue that test scores are of “considerable importance” as a factor in student admissions. However, not everyone agrees with this statement. I interviewed some students throughout the Cape Henry Collegiate community and not every student had the same opinion on standardized test scores. 

Olivia Tucker (2020) constantly feels herself comparing her SAT scores to others to determine whether or not she will get into a specific college/university. Along with many other students, she feels strongly that one standardized test score does not define her knowledge or capability. The SAT commonly takes place on a Saturday morning. It is common for students to be having a bad day and receive a low test score, which is understandable. However, she does not feel that this one score should be the only factor in determining admission to a certain college. Olivia believes that all colleges and universities should be more lenient on test scores and consider a more holistic process. 

Reiley Beers (2020) agrees with Olivia Tucker that it is easy to compare her test scores with online statistics to determine whether or not she will be admitted into that college or university. She feels that despite whether or not a student does well on their standardized tests, it doesn’t show one’s capabilities or how hard a student has worked throughout their high school years. Reiley feels that more colleges and universities should be test-optional. 

Nick Hubbard (2020) along with all of the other students I have interviewed, constantly compares his standardized test scores with other students and online statistics. Nick believes that his SAT scores show what he is capable of because his scores correspond with his GPA. He believes that standardized testing is an even playing field and that colleges and universities should continue using the SAT and ACT to determine college admissions. 

Mrs. Speight strongly felt that colleges and universities across the United States should be test-optional. She feels that an admissions board should look at other areas of a student’s life more strongly- such as volunteer work, community involvement, and GPAs. Mrs. Speight believes that a standardized test score is only one measure – a student’s ability to take a test. She feels that testing is too long. Four hours is unrealistic for a student to complete a test as our attention spans are not that long.

Lastly, I interviewed Mrs. Qualters. She felt that many colleges should use a more holistic process, however, she said that it is very difficult for larger schools to do this. It is more difficult for schools with thousands of applications coming in to read each and every application and take the time to do a holistic application process. She agrees with many that a standardized test score should not determine your knowledge and capabilities.

After interviewing several members of the Cape Henry Collegiate community I got several different viewpoints on standardized testing. Many agreed that it is unfair and should not be used during the college admissions process; however, some agreed that it is an even playing field and should continue being used throughout the United States.