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  • Writer's pictureCalvin Pang

Standardized Testing: A Boost or Useless?

Updated: Sep 11, 2023

Back in 2015, UChicago saw that the Scholastic Aptitude Test was an inaccurate way to determine one’s potential success and made this test optional, but no other schools really caught on. However, in late 2021, it was released by College Board that ⅔ of colleges throughout the United States were making standardized testing optional. This drastic change was made due to COVID-19 challenges, which have hindered the learning of students and therefore would make the test results inaccurate. However, this policy is only temporary with most schools dropping standardized testing through 2024 for the generation of high school students impacted by the pandemic. Other schools like the UC system have permanently stopped enforcing standardized testing. Now, this raises the question: If standardized testing is optional, should students still take it?

A student should take standardized testing because it boosts one’s acceptance rate. When presented with a standardized testing score that was optional, the admissions office would not only be able to get a better idea of what kind of student you are, but also that in these tough times, you went above and beyond. If a better-than-average score is given, then that would significantly increase these chances even more. On top of these benefits, if one were to receive an extremely high score, then there is the potential for a scholarship. This could aid in financial difficulties when paying an expensive tuition. Furthermore, a newer trend is that bosses want to look at standardized testing scores before hiring, as a means to understand the level of cognitive ability one would have. This happens because when looking at those that have no prior job experiences, they have no means to judge their capabilities; as a result, they look at your standardized testing score.

On the other hand, there are reasons as to why many students aren’t taking this test. One student that attends Beckman High School believes that because the standardized testing is optional, admission officers won’t look at the standardized testing aspect of their application. However, this is a severe misconception that can decide between acceptance and rejection, because although it has become optional, colleges still like to use this score to determine one’s potential. Also, standardized testing can be seen as an unreasonable method for measuring one’s future success because of the advantages those with a higher economic status can obtain. Those in better circumstances have the opportunity to hire tutors and gain insight on the test, whereas those with financial issues would struggle to even take it. To combat this, many schools are providing systems where one with financial aid can properly study for the SAT and ACT, giving them the opportunity to receive a similar level of education as those with assistance.

I myself am preparing to take standardized testing because I believe that the pros far outweigh the cons. Others, such as my friends, would disagree, saying that standardized testing is a waste of time, but in my opinion, standardized testing provides many benefits that could assist me in achieving future success. Therefore, yes, you should take standardized testing because of its boost in acceptance rate and the potential to get a scholarship.

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